At the time they were conducting psychological studies about self-identification in young children and suggested that she conduct similar research with her nursery school children.Her master's thesis was entitled "The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children." Her husband Kenneth was fascinated by her thesis research and after her graduation they worked together on the research.Kenneth Clark also was an educator and professor at City College of New York, and first black president of the American Psychological Association.They were known for their 1940s experiments using dolls to study children's attitudes about race.The summer following her undergraduate graduation Mamie worked for Charles Houston as a secretary at his law office.At the time, Houston was a popular civil rights lawyer and Mamie was privileged to see lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall come into the office to work on important cases.
Many of the children were called mentally retarded by the state and Clark tested them and realized that they had IQ’s that were above mental retardation.
During her time at Columbia, Mamie was the only black student pursuing a doctorate in psychology and she had a faculty adviser, Dr. Despite their differences in beliefs, Mamie was able to complete her dissertation, "Changes in Primary Mental Abilities with Age." In 1943 Mamie Phipps Clark was one of the first African-American women to earn a Ph. After Mamie graduated she had a hard time being a psychologist as an African American woman living in New York.
She had a hard time getting a job; she lost job opportunities to less qualified white men and white women.
However, Mamie still attended segregated elementary and secondary schools, graduating from Pine Bluff’s Langston High School in 1934 at only 16 years old.
Being able to do things that white people could do, but still having to go to a segregated school allowed her to see how society treated white and black people differently.