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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...