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Frank C.J. McGurk was an American psychologist who was noted for his claims about race and intelligence. McGurk taught at Lehigh University, Villanova University, West Point, and Alabama College.[1]

McGurk's unpublished 1951 doctoral dissertation was cited by Arthur Jensen in Bias in Mental Testing. McGurk matched 213 black high-school students very closely to 213 white students and administered intelligence tests. Jensen claimed the test showed "blacks perform better on tests involving rote learning and memory than on tests involving relation education or reasoning and problem solving, especially with content of an abstract nature."[2] In their review of the book, Darlington and Boyce obtained the unpublished dissertation and concluded that Jensen's summary was itself very biased.[3]

In the debates that followed the Brown vs. Board of Education decision which ended segregation of the American public school system, McGurk claimed in U.S. News & World Report[4] "that Negroes have less capacity for education than whites."[5][6] [7]

There were a number of refutations regarding McGurk's article.[8] In 1959 McGurk told Wesley C. George that, "for the past three years, Villanova has censored me stiffly. I may not write without their specific approval .... That is what happens when priests do not fall into line."[9]


  • Frank C. J. McGurk, The law, social science and academic freedom — A psychologist's view, 5 Villanova Law Review. 247.
  • Robert T. Osborne, Frank C. J. McGurk, Audrey M. Shuey, eds. (1982). Testing of Negro Intelligence. Foundation for Human Understanding, ISBN 978-0-936396-02-6


  1. Winston A. Science in the service of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty Lobby - International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology - Experts in the Service of Social Reform: SPSSI, Psychology, and Society, 1936-1996. Journal of Social Issues, Spring, 1998.
  2. Jensen A R (1980). Bias in mental testing. New York: Free Press, ISBN 978-0-02-916430-3
  3. Darlington, Richard B. and Carolyn M. Boyce. Bias in mental Testing (review). The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 94, No. 2 (Jun., 1981), pp. 365-368
  4. McGurk, Frank C. (September 21, 1956). A Scientist's Report on Race Differences. U.S. News & World Report
  5. Staff report (Oct. 29, 1956). Report Card. Time
  6. Staff report (September 18, 1956). NEGRO'S CAPACITY TO LEARN ARGUED; Professor Says Tests Prove Whites Better as a Group --Wilkins Disputes Him Three Points Made Wilkins Sees Omissions. New York Times
  7. Jackson, John P. (2005). Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education, NYU Press.
  8. Staff report (September 23, 1956). RACE VIEW DENIED; Council Challenges Assertions on Negro Learning Ability. New York Times
  9. McGurk to Wesley Critz George, 31 June 1959, Box 7, Folder 44, Wesley Critz George Papers. Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Cited in John P. Jackson Jr. “In Ways Unacademical”: The Reception of Carleton S. Coon’s The Origin of Races. Journal of the History of Biology 34: 247–285, 2001.

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