Black History Month: Mamie Phipps Clark

This Black History Month, Mirela Zaneva nominates a psychologist and activist who inspires her – Dr Mamie Phipps Clark.

Mirela says: “There’s a lovely short profile written up for her life and achievements from Columbia here:

On a personal note, as a psychology student, she has motivated me to carry out socially meaningful work that can have direct positive impacts to people’s lives and to society at large. For her master’s dissertation, Dr. Clark worked with black children to study race attitudes and self-identification and how those were impacted by segregation. One of her findings, that black children preferred to play with white over black dolls, formed an important part of the famous Brown v Board of Education court case. This was actually the case that overturned racial segregation in schools in 1954. Her work continues to be studies in developmental courses today and I hope it also inspires other students to think about how their research can inform policy and help build a more just and fair world.

For lovers of modern avant-garde jazz, Sons of Kemet pay homage to Dr Clark in their song ‘My Queen is Mamie Phipps Clark.’ In fact their entire 2018 album Your Queen Is A Reptile (freely available on Spotify) celebrates the lives of 9 black women and is well worth the listen. Short review of the album here: