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THE MARK OF OPPRESSION – BY ELLIN CURLEY

July 21, 2017

SERENDIPITY

In 1951, my father, Abram Kardiner, published a book with Lionel Ovesey, called “The Mark Of Oppression.” It tried to do what no one had ever done before using methodology that had never been used before. It examined the psycho-social effects of slavery and segregation on a sample group of 25 African-Americans living in Harlem, New York.

Dad and Ovesey used sophisticated psychological tools to get an accurate picture of the psyches of the subjects. They used therapy sessions, dream interpretation, Rorschach and TATs (Thematic Aptitude Tests). To analyze the family structure and child rearing practices, they used extensive professional interviews with trained professional observers spending extended periods in sample homes.

The book came up with psychological profiles and sociological analyses. It documented the damage that had been done to people who were treated by the rest of society as second-class citizens. The damage was deemed to be…

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