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The First Black Therapist: Francis Cecil Sumner

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Francis Cecil Sumner is known as the “Father of Black Psychology” [1]. In 1920, he became the first Black American to earn a Ph.D. in psychology[1]. Sumner was born in 1895 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and grew up in a segregated society[1]. Despite facing many obstacles, he went on to earn his bachelor's degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and his master's degree from Clark University in Massachusetts[1].

Sumner's research focused on the psychology of race and the effects of racism on mental health[1]. He was also a mentor to many Black psychologists who followed in his footsteps, including Kenneth Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark, who conducted the famous "doll studies" that helped to desegregate American schools[1].

Sumner's contributions to the field of psychology paved the way for future generations of Black therapists and psychologists. Today, there are many Black therapists who are making a positive impact on mental health in their communities. Here are some resources for finding a Black therapist:


[2] How to Find a Black Therapist: Resources and Advice

[4] Darryon C Spencer, LMHC - Online Black Therapist in Florida

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