Published Online:
Published in Print: March 24, 1999, as 'Doll Man' Secured the Role of Social Scientists

'Doll Man' Secured the Role of Social Scientists

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The lawyers who waged war against Jim Crow schools in the early 1950s turned for ammunition to the social scientists of their day--none more prominently than Kenneth B. Clark.

Debate still swirls around the role of the New York City-based social psychologist in the cases that culminated in the Brown v. Board of Education decisions in 1954 and 1955. Known as the "doll man" for his research using brown and white dolls, Clark became a lightning rod for criticism from supporters as well as opponents of the historic rulings.

Still, Clark's role in marshaling evidence and mobilizing a cadre of like-minded social scientists set the stage for desegregation litigation for decades to come. The collaboration in the Brown cases was a forerunner of similar partnerships that yielded starring roles for social scientists as expert witnesses, desegregation planners, and court-appointed monitors in cases across the country.

Vol. 18, Issue 28, Page 34

Web Resources
  • A list of the Library of Congress' extensive holdings on the collected papers of Kenneth B. Clark. Includes biographical information.
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories