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The Historical Context of the African American Social Scientist

John P. Jackson, Jr.
Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Vol. 71, No. 1, Our Children Too: A History of the Black Caucus of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1973-1997 (2006), pp. 218-223
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3701435
Page Count: 6
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The Historical Context of the African American Social Scientist
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Abstract

The Black Caucus of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) was founded in 1973 to address concerns about the portrayal of Black children in scientific research, the lack of participation of ethnic minority members in the governance structure of SRCD, and the perceived need for a mutual support system for minority scholars aspiring to productive careers in the child development field. In this monograph, early members of the Caucus describe its history through the first 25 years, in 15 chapters distributed among sections on Caucus history, teaching and mentoring, publications and research-related issues, and supportive academic institutions. Among the topics explored are the formation and goals of the Caucus, its structure and membership, Caucus members' achieving stature and influence within SRCD, mentoring through the Toddler and Infant Experiences Study (TIES), response to the Atlanta child murders, the successful Pre-Conferences, SRCD Monographs and milestone developmental publications by Caucus members, the role of African American scholars in research on African American children (including the use of an ecological approach to study family processes), linkages between theory, research, and practice in Project Head Start, the contributions of the University of Michigan and Howard University, and looking to the future for students. Appendices trace Caucus chronological history and identify early sustaining members. This volume celebrates the accomplishments of the Caucus while also revisiting challenges that have arisen both internally and through membership in the SRCD parent organization. Key thematic issues include: • cultural deficit versus cultural difference; • linkages between poverty, race, and empowerment; • advocacy versus objectivity in scientific research; and • how the cultural or racial identity of the researcher informs scientific knowledge. The collaborations of Caucus members and others in SRCD modified the lens through which children of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds are portrayed in the scientific literature.

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