“Mr. Clark’s studies were widely credited with influencing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision overturning racially segregated public schooling.”

~ Alan Richard, writer

Kenneth Bancroft Clark was born on July 14, 1914 to Arthur Bancroft and Miriam (née Hanson) Clark in the Panama Canal Zone.  His parents were working class, as his father was as a laborer at the United Fruit Company and his mother was a skilled seamstress.  Miriam felt that that the future of her children would be severely limited in Panama and emigrated to the United States when Kenneth was four years old and his sister, Beulah, was two years old.  Arthur chose to remain behind in order to preserve his employment.

Settling in the Harlem community of Manhattan, Miriam Clark struggled greatly and often, the Clark family had to move between tenement apartments.  Working several positions, including as an early shop steward with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, in order to provide for her and her children, she sacrificed much.  However, she would not concede that education was unimportant and she was adamant that her children take advantage of opportunities available to them.

Despite living in impoverished and, at times, dangerous environments, Kenneth loved learning as well as being Black so life in Harlem had many great benefits.  It was there that he was first introduced to and even interacted with many greats of the Harlem Renaissance.  These persons include poet Countee Cullen, who taught Kenneth in junior high school; writers Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; and bibliophile and curator, Arturo Schomburg.

For greater enlightenment...

Social and Economic Implications of Integration in Public Schools (1965)

The Negro American (1966) by Kenneth B. Clark and Talcott Parsons

A Relevant War Against Poverty (1968)

Crisis in Urban Education (1971)

A Possible Reality (1972)