THE DISCOVERY OF SOUTHERN CHILDHOODS: Psychology and the Transformation of Schooling in the Jim Crow South

Anne C. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the psychology of race in America has been the subject of significant research, psychological science in the principal region of racial interaction before Brown v. Board of Education-the South-has received little attention. This article argues that the introduction of psychological ideas about children by means of school reform in the South during the half-century before the Brown decision established a cultural foundation for both Black resistance to segregated schools and White determination to preserve them. In 1900, southern children and their schools were an afterthought in a culture more committed to tradition and racial stability than innovation and individual achievement. The advent of northern philanthropy, however, brought with it a new psychology of childhood. Although the reformers did not intend to subvert segregation, their premises downplayed natural endowment, including racial inheritance, and favored concepts highlighting nurture: that personality is developmental, childhood foundational, and adversity detrimental. Decades of discussion of children in their learning environment gave southern Blacks a rationale for protest and Whites a logical defense for conservative reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-278
Number of pages30
JournalHistory of Psychology
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Psychology(all)

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