Horace Mann Bond Essay

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Horace Mann Bond was one of the first educational researchers in the twentieth century to link structural inequalities in American society to the academic achievement of African American youth. His critiques of the use of IQ test scores to justify inadequate schooling for African American youth helped lay the intellectual foundation for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954.

Bond graduated from Lincoln University at the age of eighteen and eventually earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. Early in his academic career, Bond wrote articles in African American magazines and journals criticizing White psychologists who argued that low IQ scores by African Americans reflected innate intellectual limitations. Bond argued that the social environment played a critical role in students’ performance on IQ tests and overall academic achievement. Although most White psychologists ignored his views in the 1920s, in the decades to follow, other African American and White researchers would go on to undermine the belief in African American intellectual inferiority.

In the 1930s, Bond extended his research to an analysis of how economic and social factors denied equal educational opportunities to African Americans. His two books, The Education of the Negro in the American Social Order (1930) and Negro Education in Alabama: A Study of Cotton and Steel (1939), represented the culmination of this research and today are considered pioneering works in the history of American education. In Bond’s later educational career, he became a prominent administrator at several Black colleges.

Bibliography:

  1. Urban, W. (1992). Black scholar: Horace Mann Bond, 1904–1972. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

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