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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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Lawrie Balfour

Born in the Panama Canal Zone, Kenneth Bancroft Clark grew up with his mother in Harlem, New York. His childhood heroes included poet Countee Cullen, who taught at his junior high school, and book collector Arthur Schomburg, who served as curator at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. After attending integrated elementary and junior high schools, Clark graduated from New York's George Washington High School in 1931.

Clark distinguished himself as an undergraduate at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he led demonstrations against segregation. While at Howard he met Mamie Phipps, who became his wife and closest intellectual collaborator. The Clarks then went to Columbia University in New York City to study psychology, and in 1940 Kenneth Clark became Columbia s first black recipient of a Ph D degree in psychology Clark joined the faculty of City College ...

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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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William Allison Davis was born October 14, 1902, in Washington, D.C., to John Abraham Davis, a government employee, and Gabrielle Dorothy Beale Davis, a homemaker. As a child, Davis was exposed to an array of intellectual and cultural interests, including the works of Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and other writers. Davis attended M-Street High School (later renamed Dunbar High School), which was known for its talented faculty and rigorous curriculum.

Davis received his B.A. degree in 1924 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was named class valedictorian, graduated summa cum laude, and earned membership in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. After graduation he applied for a teaching assistantship at Williams, but he was denied the position. Undaunted, Davis applied for admittance to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard accepted him, and in 1925 he received his M.A. degree in English.

Davis then ...

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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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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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Omar H. Ali

developmental psychologist, educator, and national independent political leader, was born Lenora Branch in Chester, Pennsylvania. A youth leader in the black Baptist Church, Fulani grew up in a working-class black community; her mother, Pearl, was a nurse, and her father, Charles Lee, was a baggage carrier on the Pennsylvania Railroad. As a child, Fulani briefly participated in the public school desegregation process following Brown v. Board of Education (1954). While still in her early teens she decided to become a psychologist to help her immediate community; during the 1970s, reflecting her pride in being of African descent, she changed her surname to Fulani, the name of various West African nomadic groupings of people.

Fulani won a scholarship to Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, where she majored in psychology. Divorced when her two children, Ainka and Amani were still very young she ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

Article

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 ...

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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 ...

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Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator and popular therapist, was born in Dania, Florida, the youngest of fourteen children to parents Theophilus and Lucille Morley, vegetable farmers from the Eleuthera and Bahama Islands. Joyce spent her formative years in Dania until 1969, at which time she was sent by her mother to Rochester, New York, to live with her sister. Joyce's mother thought that her daughter might have access to a better educational system and decreased racial tensions in the North. Joyce graduated from Monroe Senior High School in Rochester, New York, two months following her seventeenth birthday. In 1973, she graduated cum laude from SUNY Geneseo with a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Psychology. While at Geneseo, Morley, along with her high school sweetheart, Bernard Watson, gave birth to their first daughter, Yolanda. In September 1973 Morley taught first second and third grades beginning ...

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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

Susan D. Toliver

developmental psychologist and educator, was born Margaret Beale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Elizabeth Rebecca (Keith) Beale, a public library aide, and Junius Alton Beale, a Philadelphia local government worker. Beale's parents divorced when she was six years old, after which time she and-her older sisters—Gwendolyn Rebecca and Maryann—were raised by their mother. Spencer described her family as nurturing and supportive, providing her with the motivation and values that enabled her to succeed in both her personal and her professional life. Much of her early formal education was at the Thaddeus Stevens School of Practice (now the Masterman School in Philadelphia). After high school she enrolled at Temple University, where she received her BS in Pharmacy. Her ultimate intention was to go to medical school and prepare for a career in pediatrics.

After college graduation Beale worked in a hospital as a pharmacist and ...

Article

Sabrina Pendergrass

psychologist and educator, was born Claude Mason Steele in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Shelby Steele Sr., a black truck driver, and Ruth Hootman, a white social worker. He was raised in Phoenix, Illinois, a working-class suburb of Chicago, along with two sisters and his identical twin brother, Shelby Steele Jr., who became a well-known author and social commentator. Steele's parents were active in the civil rights movement and were founding members of the first chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which began at the University of Chicago. As a child, Claude attended protests and demonstrations with his parents and learned principles of nonviolence. Steele encountered racial discrimination himself through such experiences as having his maternal grandparents not welcome him into their home.

After high school Steele moved to Cleveland Ohio to attend Hiram College and study dentistry However an experience seeing the famed ...

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Crystal Renée Sanders

college administrator, educator, and clinical psychologist, was born Beverly Daniel in Tallahassee, Florida, to Robert Daniel, who taught art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Catherine Maxwell Daniel. Raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Tatum is a fourth-generation college professor following in the footsteps of her paternal great-grandfather William Hazel, who was the first dean of Howard University's school of architecture; her paternal grandparents Victor and Constance Daniel, who led Maryland's Cardinal Gibbons Institute; and her father. Tatum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. She also received a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Michigan in 1976 and 1984, respectively. In 2000 Tatum earned a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. While at the University of Michigan, she married Travis James Tatum ...

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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 ...

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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

David Rego

psychologist, educator, government official, and university president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest son of William and Margaret Evelyn (Ferguson) Wright. Howard Emery Wright was among the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in psychology. His research interests were social psychology and attitudinal testing.

Wright attended elementary school in Washington, DC, where his father worked as a hotel waiter and his mother as a cook in a private home. In Washington Wright and his parents lived with his maternal grandparents Robert Ferguson, an insurance salesman, and Eleanor Ferguson, a laundry worker. Following the birth of Wright's sister Lydia, the family moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where his father worked as a railroad watchman. The Wrights purchased a home in Atlantic City, supplementing their income by taking in boarders.

Following graduation from Atlantic City High School, Wright enrolled at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University in 1929 ...