Mamie Phipps Clark: Second African American to Earn a Degree

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Running head: MAMIE CLARK 1

Famous Person in Psychology: Mamie Phipps Clark

MAMIE CLARK 2 Famous Person in Psychology: Mamie Phipps Clark
Mamie Phipps Clark was born in Hot Spring, Arkansas on April 18, 1917 to Dr. Harold and Katie Phipps. Due to her father having a practice in town the family had achieved middle class status and was allowed into many establishments that were normally whites only, which during that time in Arkansas was rarely heard of. Even though few higher educational opportunities were open to black students, after graduating from Langston High School in 1934, Mamie was offered several scholarships and chose to accept one from Howard University. (Cherry,2013) Mamie chose to study at Howard University because it was located in the nation's capital and because of the many accomplished black members of its faculty whom she viewed as role models. She began her studies at Howard as a math major, minoring in physics. There she met her future husband, Kenneth B. Clark, who was studying for his master’s in psychology. After not getting much encouragement from her professor’s in mathematics, Kenneth encouraged Mamie to change her major to psychology for employment possibilities and the chance to explore her interest in children. (Cherry, 2013) When completing her master’s degree in 1939, she worked and studied children in an all-black preschool. During that time she met with pyschologists, Ruth and Gene Harley who were studying self-identification in young children and encouraged Mamie to do the same with the children in the preschool. This resulted in her completed thesis "The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children". (Cherry,2013)

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