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Lincoln University

Dr. Francis Sumner: 1st African American With Ph.D. In Psychology

Black History: Special Delivery!!

 

francis-sumner
Dr. Francis Sumner (1895-1954)

 

Dr. Francis Sumner (1895-1954) was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. After elementary school, Sumner was home-schooled by his parents. He was able to pass the entrance exam for Lincoln University even without having attended high school.  Because he did not attend high school, Sumner had to pass a written exam in order to be admitted. He passed the exam and began his studies at age 15. He graduated magna cum laude with honors in 1915. He then attended Clark University where he obtained a bachelor of arts in English in 1916. Sumner returned to Clark University to complete his Ph.D in psychology. He was unable to start his doctoral studies due to be drafted into the army during World War I. He re-enrolled after completing military service and graduated with his Ph.D in 1920 at Clark University. Sumner became a professor and also began to publish research.

His first teaching position was Wilberforce University in Ohio. He would later teach at other universities as well. In publishing his research, he encountered many barriers. Many research agencies refused to fund his research because he was black. In publishing articles, Sumner was outspoken in criticism of colleges and universities and their treatment of African American students. He would later go on to become one of the founders of the psychology department at Howard University. He chaired the department from 1928 until his death in 1954

Throughout, Sumner investigated ways to refute racism and bias prevalent in many psychological theories that suggested the inferiority of African Americans.

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Reference

Thomas, R. (2006). “Sumner, Francis Cecil.” African American National Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr, edited by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Oxford African American Studies Center.

 

http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/psychologists/sumner-prosser.aspx 

http://legacy.earlham.edu/~knigher/personal%20biography.htm

Background of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

Black History: Special Delivery!!

 

Cheyney University
1905 Physics Class at Cheyney Unversity (Founded as Institute For Colored Youth, Cheyney was the first institution of higher learning for blacks in the U.S.)

 

 Before the U.S. Civil War, there was no higher education system established for African American students. In fact, many states had laws in place which prohibited the education of blacks. The first school to provide higher education for African American students was the Institute For Colored Youth founded in 1837 which would later become Cheney University. Lincoln University located in Pennsylvania (1854) and Wilberforce University located in Ohio (1856) soon open their doors as well.

These new schools were often called, “colleges”, “universities”, or “institutes”. However, their major focus in their early years was to provide elementary and high school level education for students of various ages that had not had any formal education. With the Emancipation Proclamation, and subsequent freedom of slaves; many African Americans could now pursue educational opportunities that they had been denied while enslaved. It would not be until the early 1900’s that HBCU’s would offer college level courses. Continue reading “Background of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)”

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