Black History: Special Delivery!!
Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Dr. George Herman Canady (1901-1970) was an African American psychologist who explored bias in IQ testing administration. Canady earned a BA, in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Northwestern University in 1927, a masters of arts in Clinical Psychology in 1928, and a Ph.D. in psychology, all from Northwestern University. Canady was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fratenity, Inc. He is most recognized for being the first psychologist to examine how the race of the test proctor could possibly create bias when administering IQ testing. This was the focus of his master’s thesis, “The Effects of Rapport on the IQ: A Study in Racial Psychology.” His work provided recommendations for improving testing environments.
Canady held many roles throughout his career including, serving as chair of the psychology department at the West Virginia Collegiate Institute (now West Virginia State College). He also served as the Designated Diplomate of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology. He also played a leading role in founding the West Virginia Psychological Association, West Virginia State Board of Psychological Examiners, and the Charleston Guidance Clinic. Canady was also a long time member of the American Teachers Association which was founded in response to the National Education Association ban on black teachers. Canady advocated for a psychology section within the organization to cultivate interest among African American students in pursuing careers in psychology as well as to advocate for the hiring and training of black psychologists. In addition, the NAACP also called on Canady as an expert witness in employment discrimination and segregation cases.
One of his most notable publications was “Psychology In Negro Institutions”. This publication (at the time) was the only known scholarly work to evaluate the training and research of psychologists in historically black colleges and universities. His trailblazing efforts helped prepare educational institutions and industries to train, develop, and employ black psychologists.