Mamie Clark
Researched and written by: Kristina Green
I attest that the following biography is a product of my own original work..


Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark

On April 18th, 1917 Dr. Harold H. Phillips and Katie Florence gave birth to Mamie Phipps in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Harold H. Phipps had a medical practice and owned a hotel and spa for African Americans placing the family at middle class status. She attended a segregated elementary and secondary school in Arkansas. It was in 1934 that Mamie Phipps graduated from Langston High school. Due to Phipps’ssuccessful academic record she received multiple scholarships. After much research and consideration she decided to attend Howard University. Phipps entered Howard as a math major with a minor in physics.

While pursing her degree at Howard University Mamie Phipps met her husband Kenneth Clark. Kenneth Clark was pursuing a master degree in psychology and sparked interest in Phipps to pursue psychology. He introduced her to different professors at Howard University. As a result Mamie Phipps took a few an introductory courses and felt right at home in the psychology department. Despite her comfort level in the department, she was discouraged because there were no African American women faculty members. In 1937, Kenneth began attending Columbia University to purse his Ph.D. Neither Mamie or Kenneth Clark could handle the separation, they decided to elope. The marriage was kept a secret from Mamie Clark’s  parents who disapproved of her marrying before graduation. Mamie Clark graduated magna cum laude in 1938, from Howard. Mamie Clark began working at all-black nursery and had a strong interest in development of children. Mamie Clark performed a color test with dolls, she researched African American children’s preference of a white or black doll. Mamie and Kenneth Clark completed research on self-identification in black children and updated the coloring dolls test. In 1938, Maime Clark worked for the law office of William Huston. In 1940, Mamie Clark attended Columbia to complete her studies. While in graduate school she gave birth to two daughters. Mamie Clark was the second African American student to graduate from their Ph.D program.  

Mamie and Kenneth Clark both showed that black children become aware of their racial identity around the age of three. The Supreme Court acknowledged the Clarks research on segregation and used it as foundation to desegregate schools. The Clarks work has had a significant impact of the success of African American students.






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