Inez Beverly Prosser Twentieth Century African American Psychologist Marcus Monteiro
May 4, 2014
Professor Sara Molloy
Inez Beverly Prosser (1895-1934), was an African American psychologist of the early twentieth century. Her main focus was on the significance of racism and its effects upon children relative to the obtainment of fair and adequate education. This writing will address the endeavors, perspectives, and accomplishments of this significant yet vastly under recognized African American female psychologist. A psychologist who led us on a journey through her perspectives as seen through the mind and eyes as an African American. It would be a journey of the many obstacles endured to enhance her knowledge as a way to make a difference for other African American children through higher education. Prosser contributed much, not only for African Americans, but also to the field of psychology through research. This journey takes you through her childhood, her desires, and her struggles while striving to achieve her goals and recognition. What is at the end of this journey is a legacy which has given hope and aspirations for many past, present and future generations.
Inez Beverly Prosser Twentieth Century African American Psychologist 20th Century Education in Psychology – The Matter of Gender In the early twentieth century, the composition of psychologists was predominantly Caucasian males. Caucasian females at that time were more and more given the opportunity to attend college and teach within those colleges. However, those same women continued to encounter resistance to the opportunity for obtaining a degree in psychology. One such renowned female of that period was Mary Whiton Calkins (1863 – 1930). Calkins applied to study at Harvard University, but at the time, Harvard did not permit women admittance. Through letters, petitions, protest, and insistence by prominent males within the educational system, Calkins was finally allowed to study at Harvard under the conditions that she attends as an unregistered student. By 1894, Calkins had completed all of the requirements for earning a doctorate in Psychology. Although Calkins was never officially conferred the doctoral degree, she is regarded, by many, as being the first woman to have rightfully earned this honor. 20th Century Education for Psychology – The Matter of Racism Though Calkins had paved the way for the female gender to have the same rights and recognition as her male peers in psychology, the road remained an uphill battle and was riddled with exponential barriers for the African Americans. It was especially true even after an additional 30 plus years had passed between the time Calkins completed her studies at Harvard in 1894, and the time that an African American female strived to fulfill her goals through post graduate studies. For African Americans, there were roadblocks at the entrance of the many prestigious colleges and universities. As it stands, back in the early nineteenth century and beyond, African Americans have demonstrated their exemplary skills, perspectives, and intelligence in the world of nonacceptance due to the differences of their outward appearance, (color of their skin), or culture. Many African Americans have contributed to today’s society in ways that cannot be repeated but are worthy to have been credited for those very contributions. One such person worthy of mention as a great contributor to the world of psychology is Inez Prosser. Prosser is the central focus of this paper. Inez Beverly Prosser
Inez Beverly Prosser (1895-1934), an African American who faced many obstacles in her quest to achieve the same recognition as Calkins, her female predecessor. Throughout history, racism and sexism were obstacles that have confronted African Americans, both male and female. Historian Cynthia Neverdon-Morton wrote, "…that African Americans...
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