Separate Is Not Equal - Brown v. Board of Education

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center

Segregated America
The Battleground
Legal Campaign
Five Communities Change a Nation
  • Clarendon County, SC
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Farmville, Virginia
  • New Castle County, DE
  • Washington, DC
The Decision
Clark conducting doll test

Clark conducting doll test

On May 24, 1951, Kenneth Clark, a psychology professor at City College of New York, came to Summerton. Using dolls of different colors, he tested the children of Scott’s Branch school to measure how they felt about themselves. He asked the children to show him the “nice” doll, the “bad” doll, and the doll that “looks like you.”

Ten of the 16 children said the brown doll looked bad. The results of these tests strongly suggested that forced segregation damaged the self-image of African American children.

(Courtesy of Library of Congress)

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