Sumner, Francis Cecil
- Roger K. Thomas
psychologist, was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the son of David Alexander and Ellen Lillian, African Americans who had previously adopted the surname Sumner in honor of Massachusetts's antislavery senator Charles Sumner. Francis received his elementary education in Norfolk, Virginia, and Plainfield, New Jersey. His father was not satisfied with the secondary education in segregated schools, so he taught Sumner himself. Sumner passed a written examination to gain admission to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1911. In 1915 he graduated magna cum laude with honors in English, Greek, Latin, modern foreign languages, and philosophy. Sumner said that his sole ambition was to be a writer, but he also said that he knew he would have to fall back on teaching or something else as a means of livelihood.While at Lincoln University Sumner corresponded with members of the psychology faculty at Clark University in Worcester Massachusetts ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.