Modern Doll Test – The Kenneth & Mamie Clark Experiment
Kenneth Bancroft Clark (July 24, 1914 – May 1, 2005) and Mamie Phipps Clark (April 18, 1917 – August 11, 1983) were African-Americanpsychologists who as a married team conducted important research among children and were active in the Civil Rights Movement. They founded the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem and the organization Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU). Kenneth Clark also was an educator and professor at City College of New York, and first Black president of the American Psychological Association.
They were known for their 1940s experiments using dolls to study children’s attitudes about race. The Clarks testified as expert witnesses in Briggs v. Elliott, one of the cases rolled into Brown vs. Board of Education (1954). The Clarks’ work contributed to the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in which it determined that de jure racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the Brown vs. Board opinion, “To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone”.