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Wilberforce University

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

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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

Dr. Leonidas Harris Berry: Ground Breaking Medical Doctor Who Would Forever Change The Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholism

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Leonidas-Berry
Dr. Leonidas Berry

 

Dr. Leonidas Harris Berry (1902-1995) was an African American trailblazer in gastroscopy and endoscopy. Berry served as the president of the National Medical Association (NMA). NMA was medical association for African American physicians. Berry invented the Eder-Berry biopsy gastroscope in 1955. This invention improved the way doctors collect tissue from the stomach without surgery. He also determined that it is not the stomach that was damaged by alcoholism, but rather the liver. This discovery would change the diagnosis and treatment of the disease forever. Continue reading “Dr. Leonidas Harris Berry: Ground Breaking Medical Doctor Who Would Forever Change The Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholism”

Background of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

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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)”

Lewis College of Business: A Detroit HBCU

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lewis college of business first class held in detroit
Lewis Business College – 1939 First Day of Class In Detroit

Lewis Business College was a trailblazer in providing business education to African American students.  The college was launched by its visionary founder, Violet T. Lewis.  Her dedication and perseverance paved the way for thousands of African Americans to access higher education.  Continue reading “Lewis College of Business: A Detroit HBCU”

Daniel A. Payne: 1st African American To Become A College President

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wilberforce university
Wilberforce University before the Civil War

Daniel A. Payne (1811-1893) was a religious leader, teacher, author, historian, and college president. Payne was a staunch advocate of education and training of ministers. Payne became the 6th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in 1852. He would the position for more than 40 years. Payne was also a co-founder of Wilberforce University in 1856. In 1856, the AME Church purchased the college and selected Payne as its president. Payne was the first African American college president in the United States. He served in the role until 1877. Continue reading “Daniel A. Payne: 1st African American To Become A College President”

Sara Jane Woodson Early: 1st African American Female College Professor

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Sarah Jane Woodson Early
Sarah Jane Woodson Early

Sarah Jane Early Woodson (1825 – 1907) was the first African American woman to be a college professor. She was a professor at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Born in Chillicothe, OH, she was heavily involved with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) as well as the feminist and temperance movements. In 1856 she graduated from Oberlin College with an L.B. degree.  In 1868, at the age of 42 she married Rev. Jordan Early, a pioneer in the AME church movement. She assisted him in ministry while continuing her role as an educator throughout the South.  Woodson authored a book about her husbands life in 1894. She died in 1907.

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