Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1459-1460

Sumner, Francis Cecil

  • Scott GravesAffiliated withSchool of Intervention Services, Bowling Green State University

Life Dates



Francis C. Sumner was the first African American awarded the Ph.D. in psychology from a U.S. institution in 1920. Graduating from Clark University under the tutelage of G. Stanely Hall, Sumner’s dissertation was titled: Psychoanalysis of Freud and Adler.

Educational Information

Sumner received his elementary education through several school systems in Virginia, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Due to a lack of secondary education opportunities he did not graduate from high school. Even without a high school diploma, he performed well enough to enroll at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania during the 1911 school year at age 15. In 1915 he graduated magna cum laude with special honors in English, Modern Languages, Greek, Latin, and Philosophy. The prominent child psychologist G. Stanley Hall was the president of Clark University and he allowed Sumner to be admitted in 1915. In 1916 he was awarded a second B ...

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