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Mamie Phipps Clark was a psychologist and civil rights activist whose work on the famous Doll Experiment, with her husband Kenneth Clark, was used in the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended de jure segregation in public schools. She and her husband compared the responses of children in segregated versus integrated schools to a white doll and a black doll. They found that black children in both types of schools identified with the black doll more, but that children in segregated schools said the black doll was ugly and bad. This study was used as evidence to show that “separate but equal” public schools were a myth – segregated public schools were inherently unequal and psychologically damaging to children. While de jure segregation had ended, de facto segregation in schools remains a serious issue in the US today. For more information on modern school segregation, watch this John Oliver segment.

For more information about Mamie Phipps Clark, check out the beautiful and important new book Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky.