May 07, 2014 12:32 AM GMT
NYT: This 1947 photograph (by Gordon Parks, for Ebony Magazine) may look simply like a child being observed at play, but, in fact, it reveals an experiment that helped lead 60 years ago this month to the Supreme Court’s monumental decision in Brown v. Board of Education, demanding the racial integration of American public schools.
As Kenneth Clark recalled in 1985, he would produce white and black dolls and say, “Show me the doll that you like to play with … the doll that’s a nice doll … the doll that’s a bad doll.”
A majority of the African-American children from segregated schools preferred the white doll and rejected the black doll. By Dr. Clark’s account, when those boys and girls were then told, “Now show me the doll that’s most like you,” some became “emotionally upset at having to identify with the doll that they had rejected.” Some even stormed out of the room.