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Tiffany K. Wayne

psychologist, social worker, and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the eighth and youngest child of Reverend and Mrs. William James Howard. Ruth Howard loved reading as a child and originally considered becoming a librarian but, after three years at Howard University, she transferred to Simmons College in Boston and changed her major to social work.

In the early decades of the twentieth century social work was a new professional field for women and especially for black women Most African American women in the early decades of the twentieth century were confined to jobs as domestic workers or if they entered the professional class as teachers But at Simmons Howard was introduced to new role models and new career possibilities Through a summer internship with the National Urban League she became inspired by the need for community programs for disadvantaged youth including education recreation and job ...

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Steven J. Niven

psychologist, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the son of the Jamaican immigrants Miriam Hanson Clark and Arthur Bancroft Clark. In 1919, Miriam left her husband and brought Kenneth and his sister Beulah to New York City. He attended public schools in Harlem, which were fully integrated when he entered the first grade, but were almost wholly black by the time he finished sixth grade. Kenneth's mother, an active follower of Marcus Garvey, encouraged her son's interest in black history and his academic leanings, and confronted his guidance teacher for recommending that Kenneth attend a vocational high school. A determined woman, active in the garment workers’ union, Miriam Clark persuaded the authorities to send Kenneth to George Washington High, a school with a reputation for academic excellence. In 1931 he won a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Clark attended Howard at time of ...

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Donna M. Abruzzese

psychologist, activist, and children's advocate, was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the elder of two children born to Kate Florence Phipps and Dr. Harold Phipps. Dr. Phipps, who was a native of the West Indies, provided a privileged environment for his family in a time of entrenched racism. He owned his own medical practice and also managed a hotel and spa for elite black patrons in the resort town of Hot Springs.

Although Clark remembered a happy childhood, her father's status did not entirely shield her from the racist world around her. At the age of six, Clark experienced her first lynching. A black man was dragged through the streets of Hot Springs, taken out of town, and hanged. Clark did not witness the actual hanging, but the intense emotion of the experience remained with her for the rest of her life.

As a whole however Clark never felt ...

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Jayne R. Beilke

social anthropologist, psychologist, and educator, was born William Allison Davis in Washington, D.C., the son of John Abraham Davis, a federal employee, and Gabrielle Dorothy Beale, a homemaker. His younger brother John Aubrey Davis became a civil rights activist and educator. He also had a sister, Dorothy. Davis enrolled at Williams College in Massachusetts, where segregationist policies prevented him from living on campus. He earned a BA in English and was the valedictorian of the class of 1924. From 1925 to 1932 he taught English literature at Hampton Institute, an historically black school in Virginia. One of his students at Hampton was the sociologist St. Clair Drake Jr., who later collaborated with Davis and Gunnar Mydal on The Negro Church and Associations in the Lower South: Research Memorandum [and] The Negro Church and Associations in Chicago (1940).

Davis earned an MA ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents’ names and occupations are not recorded. An only child, Davis began studying the piano when he was five but soon dropped it because his family did not own a piano. When he was in sixth grade, he wanted to play trumpet or trombone but began on the tuba since it was the only instrument available.

In 1951, when he decided to seriously start his music career, Davis switched to string bass. Very technically skilled from the start, Davis was one of the first musicians who had no difficulty switching between jazz and classical music. He studied with the principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Anselme Fortier) and attended Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music from 1953 to 1956. In addition, he led his own quartet and played on radio, on television, at clubs, and at colleges.

After ...

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Stephen Truhon

psychologist and educator, was born Unionville, Indiana, to Halston Vashon Eagleson. His mother's name is unknown. At some point before Eagleson's first birthday, his family moved to Bloomington, Indiana. By the age of fourteen both his parents had died. He went to work helping his brother and sister by doing shoe repair and shoe shining, work he continued to do even after he earned his doctorate.

As many members of his family did and would, he attended Indiana University. He received his B.A. in psychology there in 1931, his M.A. in 1932, and his Ph.D. in 1935. But it was not until February 1936 that he received a faculty position at North Carolina College for Negroes now North Carolina Central University at Durham Because of planned reductions in salary he left for Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia later that year where he stayed for the ...

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Benjamin A. Jackson

Presbyterian minister, clinical and counseling psychologist, and educator, was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Edmund Taylor Gordon, a physician, and Mabel Ellison Gordon, a schoolteacher. At the time of his birth and during Gordon's early life there, Goldsboro, a small city in eastern North Carolina, was typical of southern locales, with a pattern of racial segregation and racial prejudice. Despite the segregation that he experienced, Gordon grew up in privileged circumstances. His parents, both educated professionals, were firmly ensconced members of the black upper middle class.

After completing high school in Goldsboro, Gordon attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his early college years Howard University suspended Gordon for a semester for not making proper academic progress. When he returned, he was lucky enough to find a mentor in the person of Professor Alain Locke the noted black philosopher and scholar who was ...

Article

Stephen Truhon

educator and psychologist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Lerlene C. and Paul L. Guthrie. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Richmond, Kentucky, where his father had become a principal. They moved again in 1938 when his father became principal of Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky.

Guthrie played the clarinet and earned a band scholarship to Florida A&M College in 1948. There he took several psychology courses and considered becoming a psychologist. He doubted whether he could make a career in psychology but his professor, Joseph Awkward, encouraged him in this pursuit. The Korean War interrupted his studies and he enlisted in the United States Air Force. While in the service he met and married Elodia Sanchez. After his discharge he returned to Florida A&M (now University) and completed his degree in psychology in 1955.

The Brown vs the Board of ...

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Verity J. Harding

scholar, activist, psychologist, and coordinator of the first Black Studies program in an American university, was born in Slick, Oklahoma, one of five children of Seddie Henry Hare, a sharecropper, and Tishia Lee Davis Hare, a civilian janitor in the Navy. As a child he moved between California and Oklahoma, before settling on the family farm in Slick once his mother could afford to purchase it with her savings. His father left the family home when Hare was nine. The young Hare showed promise in two careers, boxing and academia, but was encouraged by teachers at L'Ouverture High School to attend college. Though he continued to box, Hare graduated from Langston University in Oklahoma in 1954 with an AB in Sociology. It was at Langston that he met Julia Reed, whom he would marry in 1956 Hare continued to show promise in both fields reaching ...

Article

Emily A. Teitsworth

social psychologist, writer, and administrator, was born Florence Cawthorne in Washington, D.C. to William Cawthorne Jr., a clerk for the board of education, and Eleanor Willis Cawthorne a special education teacher Ladd attended the prestigious Dunbar High School in Washington D C While she was a student there her mother took a course in abnormal psychology Helping her mother type papers for the class was Ladd s first exposure to the study of psychology and influenced the direction of her later academic work Ladd went on to study at Howard University a place well known for its superior psychology program She spent her junior year abroad in France and Switzerland studying psychological testing and sharing the classroom with white students for the first time Her experiences abroad began a lifelong fascination with travel and the American expatriate experience Ladd received a BS in Psychology from ...

Article

Susan J. McWilliams

psychologist, activist, and Peace Corps director, was born Carolyn Robertson in Norfolk, Virginia, the second of two daughters of Leroy Solomon Robertson, a ship steward, and Bertha Flanagan Robertson, a seamstress. Robertson grew up during the Depression, but her family was relatively comfortable. They were also close-knit, and all of the adults in her family—her grandfather, a former slave, in particular—emphasized the value of education.

On her parents' wishes, Robertson matriculated at Bennett College, a small, historically black women's college located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Payton adored her time at Bennett, and she particularly appreciated the opportunity it afforded her to know African American women who worked in significant leadership roles there. She was thrilled to see the many female luminaries who came to speak on the Bennett campus; while a student, she got to meet, among others, Eleanor Roosevelt who became and would ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

psychologist and educator, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to George and Esther Ragland Roberts. In 1928 he graduated from Howard High School, Wilmington, Delaware, then the sole free high school for African Americans in the state. He pursued higher education at white-run institutions at a time when there were almost no African Americans in his chosen field, psychology. Bertha Garrett Holliday (2009) describes the “distinct and harsh barriers” that blacks faced in the profession during that era, including “restricted training opportunities, extremely limited occupational opportunities, and widely held assumptions among European American psychologists of the intellectual and social ‘deficits’ of African Americans, which promoted a disciplinary consensus of the impossibility, difficulty, or lack of necessity of identifying ‘qualified’ African American graduate students and professionals.”

Roberts nevertheless completed both his B.A. (1932) and M.A. (1933 with honors at Brown University in Providence Rhode ...

Article

Stephen Truhon

clinician and psychologist, was born to James L. and Mabel Banner in Chicago, Illinois. Her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when she was young, and she attended East High School in Columbus. Even then she was interested in civil rights. She and other students walked into the prom at her high school, defying a ban on blacks. She also protested a local theater's refusal to sell tickets to blacks. After her graduation in 1925 she attended Ohio State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in home economics in 1929.

Turner then took a position as head of the home economics department at Wilberforce University. At the same time she pursued her graduate education at Ohio State University, earning a master's degree in education in 1931 and a doctoral degree in psychology in 1935 She thus became the second African American woman to earn a Ph D in ...

Article

SaFiya D. Hoskins

member of the U.S. Congress, was born Diane Edith Watson in Los Angeles, California, the oldest of three children. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old, at which time her mother began working nights at a post office; her father was a Los Angeles police officer. She attended Birdie Lee Bright Elementary School (formerly 36th Street School), Foshay Junior High School, and Dorsey High School. Upon graduating, Watson studied at Los Angeles City College before transferring to the University of California at Los Angeles, where in 1956 she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. In 1967 she acquired a Master of Arts degree in School Psychology from California State University. Attending the Claremont Graduate School, in 1986 Watson earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership. Subsequently, Watson attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Watson had begun working with ...

Article

Dália Leonardo

psychologist, was born Frederick Payne Watts to Charles Watts, who performed house repairs and worked as a farmer, and Harriett Watts, a homemaker in Staunton, Virginia. Watts was one of five siblings raised in a household where both parents valued and promoted education and learning and encouraged their children to excel academically and professionally. Following his graduation from Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, he attended Howard University in 1922, where he gradually found himself drawn to the field of psychology and away from his original interest in ophthalmology. One of his early mentors was Albert Sidney Beckham, who established the psychology laboratory at Howard. Watts received his B.A. in 1926, having majored in Psychology and French. He remained at Howard University on a teaching fellowship, earning his M.A. in Psychology in 1927 Following a one year stint teaching at Kittrell College in ...