Francis Cecil Sumner was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in psychology. He was was born in Arkansas in 1895.

Sumner studied under G. Stanley Hall at Clark University, and received his degree in psychology in 1920 . After graduating from Clark University, Sumner taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio before accepting the chair of the psychology department of Howard University in Washington DC in 1928. He was interested in the psychology of religion, and remained at Howard University until his death in 1954.

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