Mamie Clark

Mamie Phipps Clark  1929-2019

Mamie Clark

Mamie Clark was an American social psychologist who, along with her husband Kenneth Clark, focused on the development of self-consciousness in black preschool children. Clark received her post-secondary education at Howard University, and she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.

For her master’s thesis, known as “The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children,” Clark worked with black Arkansas preschool children. This work included doll experiments that investigated the way African American children’s attitudes toward race and racial self-identification were affected by segregation. According to the study, children who attended segregated schools preferred playing with white dolls over black dolls. The study was highly influential in the Brown v. Board of Education court case. It shed light on the effects of racial segregation on school-age children. Clark’s experiences with segregation led her to become a civil rights activist in her community and provide for the youth.

Additional information:

American Psychological Association

Smithsonian Magazine