As We Recall Brown v. Board, Remember CCNY Psychologist Kenneth Clark

psych_slider1This Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decisionthe Supreme Court case that delegitimatized the "separate but equal" standard when applied race-based segregation in public schools. This year has marked the 75th anniversary of the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership's Department of Psychology. During this time, faculty have produced extraordinary contributions in their field, including research that has had wide-reaching societal impact. One of the more notable examples of this is Kenneth Clark. While an Assistant Professor at CCNY, Clark and his wife, Mamie, a psychologist working with children in Harlem, studied children's attitudes about race through experiments with dolls. These studies revealed the pernicious effects of segregation on children. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who wrote the majority opinion in the unanimous decision striking down segregation in schools as unconstitutional, specifically cited the findings from the Clarks' 1950 paper. Kenneth Clark was the first tenured African-American professor at City College of New York and in 1971 was designated president of the American Psychological Association.

On June 5, the Department of Psychology will celebrate this and other contributions in the culminating event of the year, "The Social World and the Meaning of the Message: A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Psychology Department at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.” This conference both celebrates the past 75 years and looks ahead to the future. There will be a keynote address by Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain, The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, and two panels. The first panel will feature research highlights including those of Kenneth Clark. The second panel looks at the future of social messaging, including its importance to and use in political messaging. Visit our eventbrite page for more information and to RSVP.

Visit the Department of Psychology's website.

Read the president's proclamation on the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v. Board.