Dr. Shari Miles-Cohen Readies for Pop-Up Museum of Black Women Pioneers in Psychology

Shari MilesTwo years ago when Howard University alum Dr. Shari Miles-Cohen met with the White House Council on Women and Girls in the Obama administration, a decision was made to shine a light on the historic role of women in the mental health field. Next week, that decision will culminate into the launch of a pop-up museum housed at the University featuring Black women pioneers in the mental health field.

?Representing the American Psychological Association and the Archives of Psychology, I attended the meeting and learned about an initiative that Michelle Obama was starting called Museum Day Live, an event the Smithsonian created to open their doors for free for a day to encourage folks to go to museums. Mrs. Obama wanted the Archives of Psychology to be the chosen museum for the March 2016 initiative to be a way to encourage young women and girls of color to think big, and to imagine themselves in different ways. We realized we couldn?t have people go to Akron, Ohio, which is where the Archives is located, plus, it doesn’t have a lot of information on female psychologists of color anyway,? shares museum co-creator Miles-Cohen in a recent interview with TNJ.com.?

The pop-up museum comes to Howard as the university celebrates its 150th?year and is sponsored in part by the American Psychological Association, which is celebrating its 125th year. ??The?museum depicts two legendary Howard University women. First, psychologist Mamie Phipps Clark who earned her B.A. and M.A. at Howard in 1938 and 1939, respectively. She would go on to earn her PhD at Columbia University. Dr. Phipps Clark worked with her husband, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, to assist lawyer Thurgood Marshall in his preparation to argue the case Brown v. Topeka Board of Education.? The second psychologist featured with links to HU is Dr. Carolyn Robinson Payton, the first woman director of the US Peace Corps. Dr. Payton was also was director of the HU Counseling Service from 1970 to 1977 and also Dean of Counseling and Career Development at Howard from 1979 until 1995.
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Says Miles-Cohen, ?For the exhibit, we tried to find examples of women of color who used psychology to make social change. We want to encourage young women and girls to consider psychology as a career choice.?

She will kick-off the opening day program at 9 am next Tuesday. Moderated by WHUR-FM Renee Nash, it will include a discussion of women psychologists talking about making positive social change. The exhibit will be on display at the Louis Stokes Health Sciences at Howard University from February 21-23, 2017. Howard is the first 2017 stop for the national tour of ?I am Psyched:? Inspiring Histories, Inspiring Lives: Women of Color in Psychology.”