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Dr. Kenneth Clark

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Summary
Carmen Fields interviews Dr. Kenneth Clark about school desegregation and race
Topics
African American identity, Busing for school integration--United States--History, Race relations, Segregation in education--United States, Ethnopsychology, Segregation, Civil rights
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Log

1:00:10: Visual: Shot of a display of dolls and toys. Carmen Fields reports that Dr. Kenneth Clark (psychologist) and the late Mamie Phipps Clark (psychologist) used dolls in a 1939 psychological experiment; that the Clarks used dolls to gauge ego and self esteem in young African American children. Fields notes that the results of the experiments shocked the nation. V: Shots of Kenneth Clark being interviewed by Fields. Shots of a white doll; of an African American doll. Footage of Clark talking about how African American children internalize society's negative stereotypes of African Americans. Clark says that two out of three African American children rejected the brown dolls. Footage from the 1959 film, Imitation of Life. Footage of Clark saying that the children were forced to identify with the brown dolls they had rejected. Fields reports that the Supreme Court's 1953 decision on school desegregation was influenced by the Clarks' research. V: Shot of the exterior of the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. Footage of Clark saying that NAACP lawyers were interested in the study; that NAACP found parallels between the results of the study and the effects of segregated schools on African American chiildren. Fields reports that school desegregation has been accomplished in both southern and northern cities. V: Black and white footage from Eyes On the Prize. Shots of an African American girl being accompanied into a school; of the National Guard running in formation; of African American students entering a school; of an African American female student in a classroom; of an African American man walking with two white men. Shots of school buses pulling up to the front of South Boston High School in 1974; of South Boston residents jeering at the buses. Shots of police officers lined up on a streeet outside of a Charlestown Housing Project. Fields notes that Clark blames low self-esteem for many of today's educational problems including high drop-out rates and violence. V: Footage of Clark being interviewed by Fields. Clark says that society's problems cannot be solved by laws and court cases; that churches have not influenced people to act more humanely toward others. Clark says that children must be educated to act in a humane manner. Fields asks Clark how he responds to people who believe that desegregation did not work. Clark says that desegregation has never really been tried; that schools are still organized along racial lines. Clark says that schools are not set up to teach children to respect others. Fields asks if the doll study is still relevant today. Clark says that both white African American children need help in developing positive self-images in today's society. Shots of students in an integrated classroom; of white students in the classroom. Footage of Clark saying that racism is indicative of a lack of self-respect. Clark says that dolls can be used to communicate a sense of humanity and decency. Shots of white and African American dolls. Footage of Clark saying that some African American children in his doll study had good role models; that those children did not reject the brown dolls. Clark says that children can be taught to respect themselves and others.

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