It’s not hyperbole to say that Sarasota’s Kate Miriam Clark Harris was born into a family that influenced the course of Black American history—particularly for Black children. Her parents, Drs. Kenneth Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark, were the first and second Black Americans to receive a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.
The Clarks were best known for the iconic “doll study,” which examined the psychological effects of racial awareness in Black children ranging from 3 to 7 years old. The children were presented with identical dolls, one white and one black, and asked which they preferred to play with, which was the “nice” doll, which was the “bad” doll and, finally, which doll looked like them. The results of the study were that the children showed an unmistakable preference for the white doll and rejection of the Black doll.
Many credit the Clarks and their doll study