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Memorial Service 


The Riverside Church
New York, New York 
September 14, 1983, 11:00 a.m.

“My participation as a black woman in the professional field of psychology has been thirty-six years of a most rewarding and fulfilling career.”

“ husband gave me much support and encouragement. Two small and delightful children were also a major part of a strong support system.”

“This flight into the field of clinical psychology has been at the expense of urgently needed research into the effective treatment of emotional disturbance in children and, most importantly, the prevention of emotional disturbance in children. Unless this trend away from theoretical and research psychology is slowed, I believe that children, and most particularly minority children, will suffer.”

“It is also hoped that some future Administration will be more serious about a National Commission on Mental Health, and that widespread concern about children will generate effective mechanisms to grant them their inalienable rights to a constructive role in society-the basis of self-esteem.”



Mamie Katherine Phipps was born October 18, 1917 in Hot Springs, Arkansas to Katie Florence and Dr. Harold Hilton Phipps.

After attending elementary and secondary schools in Hot Springs, she entered Howard University in 1934 where she received a B.S. degree in 1938, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.S. degree in 1939. During this period she met fellow student, Kenneth B. Clark, who was to become her instructor and life-long collaborator and companion. They were married on April 14, 1938.

In 1940 she enrolled in Columbia University where she received her Ph.D. in psychology four years later. It was during this period that her two children were born: Kate Miriam in 1940, and Hilton Bancroft in 1943.

As a young mother, “Dr. Mamie” worked as a research psychologist for the American Public Health Association and as a research associate at the New York Examination Center of the United States Armed Forces Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In 1945 she joined the staff of the Riverdale Home for Children, a private agency for the protection of black homeless girls. It was there she realized the critical need for providing psychological services to Harlem’s black and minority children and their families.

This realization led Dr. Mamie and her husband, Kenneth to establish the Northside Center for Child Development in March 1946, where she served as its executive director for 34 years until her retirement in 1980.

As a natural outgrowth of the Northside Center philosophy, Dr. Mamie established and assumed the chair of the 110th Street Plaza Housing Development Corporation. This corporation produced Schomburg Plaza, a 600-family low and middle income housing complex at the Gateway to Harlem on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street and provided more adequate facilities for the increased demands and expanded services of Northside Center.

Dr. Mamie served on the boards of directors of the American Broadcasting Companies; the Union Dime Savings Bank; the Mount Sinai Medical Center; Teachers College, Columbia University; Harverford College; The New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, The Institute of Museum Services; Museums Collaborative; The New York City Mission Society; and the Phelps Stokes Fund.

Dr. Mamie also served on the advisory groups of the National Headstart Planning Committee of the Office of Economic Opportunity; the Special Allocations Fund Committee of the United Fund of Greater New York; Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU); and as a Commissioner for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. She was a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Orthopsychiatry as well as a recipient of a number of fellowships, awards and honorary degrees.

From 1980 until her death, she served as treasurer of Clark, Phipps, Clark & Harris, Inc., a human relations consulting firm headed by her husband.

Dr. Mamie is survived by her husband, Kenneth; her brother, Harold Hilton Phipps II; her daughter, Kate Clark Harris; her son, Hilton B. Clark; and three grandchildren, Scott, Natalie and Andrea Harris, who affectionately called her “Sweetpea”.

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