Black History: Special Delivery!!
Robert Lee Williams II (1930-present) is a pioneer in the field of American psychology. He is well known for his efforts in educating African American children as well as studying cultural bias against African American students present in standardized testing with a focus on IQ tests. Williams was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father worked as a millwright and died when Williams was 5 years old. His mother worked as a domestic. After high school, he attended Dunbar Junior College in Arkansas. He dropped out after a year because he was discouraged by a low IQ test he received. Williams married Ava L. Kemp in 1948. They have 8 children.
Williams later enrolled at Philander Smith College where he graduated in 1953. He then went to Wayne State University in Detroit, MI where he obtained a master’s degree in educational psychology in 1955. He later went on to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1961. He served as the Assistant Chief Psychologist for the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Louis from 1961-1966. William held several other professional roles as well. In September 1968, he helped to organize the Association of Black Psychologists. The death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 sparked a wave of increased consciousness for Williams regarding his racial identity and the racial identity of African Americans as a whole.