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The Life and Legacy of Dr. Kenneth B. Clark: The History of an African-American Psychologist

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To address the concerns of social justice, while Clark was in office, he helped develop the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Psychology in 1972 (Pickren, 2002). Though Dr. Kenneth Clark has contributed much more to the world of psychology, he most importantly opened up and investigated racism and the psychological effects it has on children and has helped change the face of education in the process.
Dr. Kenneth B. Clark’s legacy has lived on and will continue to inspire because, even today, in the 21st century, there are many ideas and problems that Clark addresses in the realm of prejudice and racism that are still relevant in social identity, education and the work place in America. Clark was a social psychologist who was a firm believer in equality, though he knew that racial division would be a difficult task to overcome, he still thought it was a concept that was necessary for America to progress. One of the many researchers that have continued Clark’s work is Thomas F. Pettigrew. Pettigrew (2004) suggests that America is not where it needs to in reference to equal opportunity. Pettigrew does acknowledge that there has been many steps forward since the Brown case and Clark’ s doll studies, but believes there has also, been many steps taken backwards in regards to the progress of racial equality and opportunity (Pettigrew, 2004). According to Pettigrew (2004) racial prejudices have come to be much less blatant but still have the same effect on the people exposed to the phenomena. Though racial prejudices are still prevalent, the source of the tension is much more difficulty to identify. As did Clark suggest, Pettigrew (2004) also believes that for change to consistently and proficiently occur, it must h...


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... Psychology, 13(1), 74-88.
Pettigrew, T. F. (2004). Racial integration today: revisiting Kenneth B. Clark’s vision.
In APA, Racial Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth B. Clark. 35-50.
Pickren, W. E., & Tomes, H. (2002). The legacy of Kenneth B. Clark to the APA: The
Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology. American
Psychologist, 57(1), 51-59.
Spencer, M. (2008). Fourth annual Brown lecture in education research: Lessons
learned and opportunities ignored since Brown v. Board of Education: Youth
development and the myth of a color-blind society. Educational
Researcher, 37(5), 253-266.

Steele, C.M. (2004). Kenneth b. Clark’s context and mine: toward a context-based
theory of social identity threat. Racial Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth
B. Clark. 61-76.



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