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Kenneth B. Clark and the Political Dimensions of Violence, 1941-1950

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Abstract:

With the onset of World War II, social scientists in the United States grew increasingly concerned with how to limit racial conflict between Black and White Americans. This paper examines the work of Kenneth B. Clark, perhaps the most famous Black psychologist of the twentieth century. Working at the Office of War Information at the beginning of the war and subsequently as a young professor at the City College of New York, Clark produced a body of work on three seemingly disparate topics: African American morale as a part of the war effort; the Harlem Riot of 1943; and Black/Jewish tensions. The common thread that ran through this research was the focus on conflict situated within the broader socio-economic context of racial segregation and ultimately what Clark called “social tensions.” In a 1948 article, he defined social tensions as the “social and psychological forces” that threatened humanity’s survival following the end of the war and the onset of the nuclear age. In other words, racial violence in Clark’s mind not only manifested itself due to the historically specific circumstances of racial segregation and oppression; it was also a manifestation of these universal social and psychological forces. The roots of Clark’s perspective can be traced back to his grounding in the ideas of psychologist Alfred Adler’s “will-to-power” concept which he was exposed to as an undergraduate at Howard University. This paper looks critically at Clark’s work and places it in the broader context of his developing thought.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435382_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Freeman, Damon. "Kenneth B. Clark and the Political Dimensions of Violence, 1941-1950" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435382_index.html>

APA Citation:

Freeman, D. "Kenneth B. Clark and the Political Dimensions of Violence, 1941-1950" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435382_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: With the onset of World War II, social scientists in the United States grew increasingly concerned with how to limit racial conflict between Black and White Americans. This paper examines the work of Kenneth B. Clark, perhaps the most famous Black psychologist of the twentieth century. Working at the Office of War Information at the beginning of the war and subsequently as a young professor at the City College of New York, Clark produced a body of work on three seemingly disparate topics: African American morale as a part of the war effort; the Harlem Riot of 1943; and Black/Jewish tensions. The common thread that ran through this research was the focus on conflict situated within the broader socio-economic context of racial segregation and ultimately what Clark called “social tensions.” In a 1948 article, he defined social tensions as the “social and psychological forces” that threatened humanity’s survival following the end of the war and the onset of the nuclear age. In other words, racial violence in Clark’s mind not only manifested itself due to the historically specific circumstances of racial segregation and oppression; it was also a manifestation of these universal social and psychological forces. The roots of Clark’s perspective can be traced back to his grounding in the ideas of psychologist Alfred Adler’s “will-to-power” concept which he was exposed to as an undergraduate at Howard University. This paper looks critically at Clark’s work and places it in the broader context of his developing thought.


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