News from the UGA School of Social Work
The month of February is Black History Month, and I’ve been very impressed with all the events at the University of Georgia. In particular, I am proud to see that our faculty, students and alumni are creatively involved, organizing dialogues that address difficult, historic problems while engaging campus and off-campus communities in seeking solutions. Earlier this month the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights sponsored a discussion of liberation theology as a framework for empowering disenfranchised African Americans. The talk, which featured Dr. Llewellyn “Lee” Cornelius and Fenwick Broyard (BSW '02, MSW'13), was well attended. The Bachelor of Social Work Club also assembled an impressive panel of academics and community leaders, as well as sponsors, for a viewing and discussion of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “13th.” The film’s title refers to the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the U.S. but did not end mass incarceration. That event, too, filled the space where it was held (the Intersection, in the Tate Student Center). On Feb. 28 our student chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers will host another event here at the school, "Shades of Difference: A Conversation on Colorism," about within-group discrimination.
I am proud of this kind of involvement, in part because it shows a strong commitment to addressing difficult issues. The events that mark this month also particularly remind me of the words of Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Social Work. Dr. Carlton-LaNey’s area of research is the history of African-Americans’ contributions to the field of social work. During my years at that institution, she would repeatedly remind me that social work history often left out the names of African-American social work leaders. Even though they made significant contributions to our profession, they are rarely remembered in the social work literature.
So, in honor of Black History Month I encourage you to go and read about these inspiring social work pioneers. Read about Frankie Adams (1902 – 1979), who developed the two-year sequence in community organization method of practice. In 1965 she also became our school’s first African American instructor, and possibly the first African American to teach at the University of Georgia. Read about Thyra J. Edwards (1897-1953), who was a leader in child welfare, with a visionary emphasis on interdisciplinary work and internationalism, or about E. Franklin Frazier (1894-1962), who directed the Atlanta School of Social Work and who wrote the seminal and controversial article The Pathology of Race Prejudice. Of course, you should also read about the indomitable Dorothy Height (1912-2010), who was often referred to as the “godmother of the civil rights movement” and about Whitney M. Young, Jr. (1921-1971) who was the executive secretary of the Urban League in Omaha , Nebraska, taught social work at the University of Nebraska, and became dean of the Atlanta University School of Social Work. Look at some of the NASW publications about these leaders: Social Work and the Black Experience, or African American Leadership. Celebrate Back history in social work.
I would also like to celebrate some of the important work being done by our faculty here at the School of Social Work to promote social justice and well-being among African Americans in the US. Here are just a few examples among many:
If you get the opportunity, please read more about the excellent work being done by our faculty (ANNA – OKAY TO PUT LINKS FOR EACH FACULTY IN BODY OF MESSAGE, AS ABOVE?). As always, I hope you will be in touch or come to visit the School. Think about coming to visit for Social Work Month in March—we would love to see you!
If you have alumni news you'd like to share, please contact Jennifer Abbott, alumni director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Georgia
School of Social Work
279 Williams Street
Athens, GA 30602
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