Francis Cecil Sumner was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on December 7, 1895. As a child he attended schools in Norkfolk, Virginia and Plainfield, New Jersey. After that he was self-schooled and took a hand written test in order to attend the Lincoln University. He did this because he didn't have a high school diploma. Soon after that, he was drafted into the army during WWI. When he returned he attended Clark and was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. After receiving his Ph.D, Sumner first taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Later, he taught at Southern University in Louisiana. In 1921, Sumber went to West Virginia Collegiate Institute to fulfill the position of instructor of psychology and philosophy. Sumner was also part of several organizations including, the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Educational Research Association, Eastern Psychological Assication, Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the District of Columbia Psychological Association. Throughout his career, Sumner was interested in psychological topics dealing with race and religion, and he did research in these areas. One of the studies he did was done to look at the "attitudes of Blacks and Whites toward the administration of social justice". On January 12, 1954, Dr. Francis Cecil Sumner died of a heart attack outside his home in Washington, D.C.