An African American man wearing a lab coat and holding a small white and black rat. He is surrounded by laboratory equipment.

Black History in Psychology

In the history of psychology, Black psychologists have played an essential role in advancing the field, expanding our understanding of human nature, and promoting social change. From early pioneers like Francis Cecil Sumner and Ruth Howard to organizations like the Black Students Psychological Organization to the groundbreaking work of Kenneth and Mamie Phipps Clark, no telling of psychology's history is complete without the stories of Black psychologists.

Additionally, psychology has historically harmed people of color, including Black Americans, since the formal institutionalization of the field in the United States in the late 1800s. These harms were recently addressed by the American Psychological Association in its 2021 Apology to People of Color. It is necessary to recognize these harms in order to more fully understand psychology's role in the world and the need for continued resistance against unjust systems and practices.

Join the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in exploring these histories through our online resources, including exhibits, blogs, and videos. These resources examine the contributions of Black psychologists and the broader intersections of psychology and race.