Black History Month: Honoring a Legacy of Knowledge Strength, Wisdom, Courage and the Spirit of Unit

This platform is an opportunity to showcase and highlight people of African decent in the field of social work and those working towards social justice.

Dorothy Height and Whitney Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act S.997 and H.R.1378 was introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswomen Barbara Lee is in honor of two African American who were trail blazers in the Social Work profession. Social Work Reinvestment Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the Social Work Reinvestment Commission to provide independent counsel to Congress and the Secretary on policy issues related to recruitment, retention, research, and reinvestment in the profession of social work. Dorothy Height 1912-2010 Born on March 24, 1912, in Richmond, Virginia, African-American activist Dorothy Height spent her life fighting for civil rights and women's rights. Dr. Height established herself early as a dedicated student with exceptional oratorical skills which won her a $1,000 scholarship in a national oratorical contest. Her prize money enabled her to enroll at New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. She did further postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work.

She helped found the National Women's Political Caucus with Gloria Steinem Shirley Chisholm and Betty Friedan.

In 1963, Height was one of the organizers of the famed March on Washington. She stood close to Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Despite her skills as a speaker and a leader, Height was not invited to talk that day.

In the 1990s, she drew young people into her cause in the war against drugs, illiteracy and unemployment.

One of her later projects was focused on strengthening the African-American family. In 1986, Height organized the first Black Family Reunion, a celebration of traditions and values which is still held annually. Whitney Young 1921-1971 Whitney Young, Jr. was born 1921 in Kentucky, in 1971 he drowned during a visit to Nigeria. He received an MSW from the University of Minnesota (1947) and began to work with the Urban League in Minnesota. He taught social work at the University of Nebraska and Creighton University, and became Dean of the Atlanta University School of Social Work (1954). In 1961 Young was appointed executive director of the National Urban League, remaining there until his death. He became president of the National Conference on Social Welfare in 1965 and president of NASW in 1969. [Young was elected a NASW Social Work Pioneer in 1993]. A noted civil rights leader and statesman, he worked to eradicate discrimination against blacks and poor people. Stay tuned in throughout the month of February as we continue to highlight African Americans and organizations, who have made an impact in the Social Work Profession.

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