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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

When prompted to think of the most influential psychologists who have shaped our perceptions of mental health, therapy, and understanding human behavior, the psychologists who come to mind are Freud, Skinner, Pavlov, and Jung. Less recognized are the Black men and women who shaped the world of psychology with their research, literature, and intersectionality work. Here are five of these individuals:

Inez Beverley Prosser, PhD (1895-1934)

Dr. Prosser was the first Black woman to receive her doctoral degree in psychology in the early 1900s. She was an integral part of Brown v. Board of Education. She determined that Black students benefit more from segregated schools because they receive more support and affection. Still, there was a lack of resources in Black schools that prevented them from obtaining a quality education. Her passion for education and its transformative power led her to teach at many universities and assist with funding for Black students to pursue higher education.

Mamie Phipps Clark PhD, (1917-1983) and Kenneth Bancroft Clark, PhD (1914-2005)

Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth Bancroft Clark both received their undergraduate and master’s degrees from Howard University. Mamie’s master’s thesis included the famous doll experience which exposed internalized racism in Black children. In these experiments, kids were given Black and White dolls and asked questions like: “Which is the nice doll” and “Which doll would you like to play with?”

The Clarks went on to obtain their doctoral degrees from Colombia University. Kenneth Clark was the first Black president of the American Psychological Association. In 1946 the Clarks opened their pediatric agency which provided psychological and casework services to families in Harlem.

Francis Cecil Sumner, Ph.D. (1895-1954)

Dr. Sumner was known as the “Father of Black Psychology”. Without a high school degree, he was able to secure a spot at Lincoln University where he graduated with honors. He was the first African American to receive his doctoral degree in Psychology. He became a professor and published many articles despite pushback from people due to his race. His work focused on racial justice in the education system.

Beverly Green, Ph.D.

Known as the “pioneer of intersectional psychology,” Dr. Beverley Green integrated the concepts of mental health and cultural diversity. Working as a staff psychologist at Kings County Municipal Hospital’s Inpatient Child Psychiatry Division in Brooklyn, she taught her predominately white colleagues how to work with predominately black patients. This led to her career at St. Johns University where she still teaches about the intersections of mental health and culture today.

Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D.

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is a licensed psychologist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Bradford specializes in mental health issues that are particular to black women. She advocates for these issues using her platform and podcast called Therapy for Black Girls. Her content includes destigmatizing mental health, personal development, and boundaries, and racial injustice in the workplace.

Kim Mitchell is a member of the SBU Her Campus chapter. This is her second year writing for the site. Kim covers advice and experience pertaining to college life and emotional well-being. She also covers popular media such as trending telivision shows and books. Kim is currently a senior at St.Bonaventure University. She is pursuing a bachelor of arts in psychology and a spanish minor with aspirations to attain a masters in clinical mental health counseling. When she is not writing you can find Kim singing in her church's worship band, outside enjoying nature, or curled up with a good book. She is always down to challenge you in a game of Mario Kart, knowing full well she will probably be in last place.