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Historians Markowitz (John Jay Coll.) and Rosner (Baruch Coll.) not only present a timely study of the center (currently celebrating its 50th anniversary), but offer valuable insights into postWW II race relations in New York City. Social scientists Kenneth and Mamie Clark, the center's founders, initially achieved recognition for their "doll studies," in which African-American children repeatedly expressed a preference for white dolls. The results of these studies influenced the 1954 US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and were decisive in the establishment of the Northside Center. At this child guidance center, the Clarks envisioned a staff of black and white professionals successfully serving an integrated clientele. A black child's self-esteem and self-respect would be most likely to rise, the Clarks contended, in such an environment. The authors document how remarkably successful the Clarks were in securing funds from wealthy white benefactors—until the civil rights dream ended in the turbulent 1960s. Integration was never attained in Harlem institutions, particularly its schools, and the call for integration eventually turned into a battle for community control of schools. Increasingly, the races were pitted against one another, and the alliance between wealthy liberal patrons—particularly Jewish contributors—and African-American leaders got tangled in webs of mutual suspicion. Markowitz and Rosner pay tribute to the Clarks' persistence and dedication in keeping the Northside center going, continually meeting the needs of a community in crisis.
Far more than an account of one Harlem clinic, this offers an intimate glimpse into contemporary struggles over race and power, and into the lives of the parents and children most impacted by these struggles.
|List of Illustrations|
|1||The Abandonment of Harlem's Children||1|
|2||The Northside Center for Child Development||18|
|3||Philanthropy and Psychiatry, an Exercise in White Power||43|
|4||Children Apart: Education and the Uses of Power||90|
|5||"The Child, the Family and the City"||130|
|6||Juvenile Delinquency and the Politics of Community Action||180|
|7||Urban Renewal and Development and the Promise of Power||217|
|Essay on Sources||253|