Return to search page.
Adams, Florence V. "Frankie"
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1979
Adams, born in Danville, KY, was a professor at the Atlanta University School of Social Work, the first social work program accredited for African Americans (in 2000 it was renamed the Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work). Florence Adams and Whitney Young, Jr. were social work comrades and Kentucky natives. They co-authored Some Pioneers in Social Work: brief sketches; student work book (1957). Adams also influenced community organization and group work on the national level. She was author of Women in Industry (1929), Soulcraft: Sketches on Negro-White Relations Designed to Encourage Friendship, (1944) and The Reflections of Florence Victoria Adams, a history of the Atlanta University School of Social Work (published posthumously in 1981). She also wrote many articles and was editor of Black and White Magazine. The Frankie V. Adams Collection is in the Atlanta University Center Archives. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950 and In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Social Workers, Migration South
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia
Allen, Bessie Miller and Henry
The Allens were the first African American social workers in Louisville, KY, they managed the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children. In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Henry (b.1877 in KY) is listed as the janitor of the home, and Bessie is listed as the matron and probation officer. The Allens were the parents of author and librarian Ann Allen Shockley. Bessie Allen was a graduate of State University [Simmons University in Louisville]. She started a nonsectarian Sunday School in 1902. She was also head of the Colored Department of Probation Work and opened the Booker T. Washington Community Center, which offered domestic classes for boys and girls. She also organized a marching band for African American children. Bessie Allen (1881-1944) was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Anna and John D. Miller. For more see "Ann A. Shockley" in A Biographical Profile of Distinguished Black Pioneer Female Librarians (selected), by L. G. Rhodes; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. Wright.
Subjects: Fathers, Mothers, Social Workers, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Austin, Helen C.
Birth Year : 1925
Helen Cloud Austin, from Harlan, KY, was the second African American student to attend the University of Louisville School of Social Work, from which she graduated in 1953. With the help of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, she became the first African American professional hired at the San Antonio State Hospital, a mental health facility in Texas. In 1983, Austin was the San Antonio Social Worker of the Year and the Texas State Social Worker of the Year. She was inducted into the San Antonio Hall of Fame in 1985. Austin retired from the hospital in 1987. Two years later, she was included in the booklet titled Salute to Black Women Who Make Things Happen by the National Council of Negro Women. After her retirement, Austin continued to be active with several organizations, including serving as president of the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Halfway House, Inc., she started the Senior Citizen Ministry at St. Paul United Methodist Church, and she continued her work with Crosspoint, a nonprofit that provides reentry residential services for ex-offenders, an organization that Austin co-founded in 1963. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta. The Helen Cloud Austin Papers are at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Information about Crosspoint and other updates were provided by Joan Cheever.
See photo image and additional information about Helen C. Austin at the NASW Foundation website.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Medical Field, Health Care, Corrections and Police, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Harlan, Harlan County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / San Antonio, Texas
Black, Evelyn Jones
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1972
In 1968, Evelyn J. Black became the first African American faculty member at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Social Work. She was named the UK Outstanding Woman Professor, 1969-70. The UK Evelyn J. Black Scholarship in Children's Mental Health is named in her honor. Black had been a teacher and social worker in three states: North Carolina, Alabama, and Kentucky. She was active on a number of boards, including the Mayor's Council, Central Kentucky Mental Health Association, Central Kentucky Regional Mental Health - Mental Retardation Board, and the Fayette County Children's Bureau. She was a past president and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1973, the year after her death in a traffic accident, the Evelyn Jones Black Memorial Playground was dedicated at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Evelyn Black had been a member of the church and helped lead the sponsorship by the church for the Neighborly Organization of Women's (NOW) preschools. St. Andrews Episcopal Church also donated $1,000 to the Evelyn J. Black Memorial Scholarship Fund at UK. In October of 1977, Evelyn J. Black was posthumously honored when the former Booker T. Washington School, on Georgetown Street in Lexington, was formally dedicated as the Black and Williams Neighborhood Community Center. In 1993, she was recognized posthumously at the 3rd Annual Homecoming Awards Banquet by the Lyman T. Johnson Alumni, an affiliate of the UK Alumni Association. Black was among the 23 graduates, faculty, and staff, "Waymakers of the '60s," all recognized for their contributions toward setting the path for future African Americans at the University of Kentucky [quote from E. A. Jasmin, "Black UK graduates to honor school's 'waymakers' of '60s," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1993, p. B3]. Evelyn Jones Black was born in Murfreesboro, TN, the daughter of P.S. and Patty L. Jones. She was the wife of William D. Black, Jr. For more see "Special People: Black and Williams Center dedicated to social worker, Happy Warrior," Lexington Herald, 10/31/1977, p. A-3; "Playground dedicated at St. Andrews," Lexington Leader, 06/12/1973, p. 19; and "Mrs. Black," in the Obituary section of the Lexington Leader, 11/01/1972, p. 12. This entry was suggested by Yvonne Giles, who also assisted with the research. There is a colored portrait of Elelyn J. Black at the University of Kentucky Archives and Records, Rm 204 King Library, the portrait is 22" X 26" inside an ornate frame located on the wall just inside the entrance.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Murfreesboro, Tennessee / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Boswell, Arnita Y.
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2002
Arnita Young Boswell was born in Lincoln Ridge, KY. She was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], and earned her advanced social work certification at Columbia University and advanced education at Colorado State University. She was a professor of social work at the University of Chicago (1961-1980) and Director of the Family Resources Center at the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago. She was also the first national director for Project Head Start, the first director of the social workers of the Chicago Public Schools, and founder of Chicago's League of Black Women. Boswell was the daughter of Whitney Young, Sr. and Laura R. Young. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2002.
See photo image and additional information about Arnita Y. Boswell at African American Registry.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
Bright, Willis K., Jr.
Birth Year : 1944
Willis Bright, Jr. was born in Lexington, KY. He was the second African American to receive the Algernon Sullivan Medallion, receiving it when he was a senior at the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1966. Bright went on to earn a M.S.W. at the University of Michigan in 1968 and became an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Bright led a number of programs in Iowa and Minnesota. In 2003, when he was the Director of Youth Programs at the Lily Endowment in Indianapolis, IN, Bright was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Social Work Hall of Fame. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; the UK College of Social Work Alumni Newsletter [.pdf], vol. 4, no. 1 (2003); and Algernon Sullivan Medallion.
See photo image and additional information about Willis Bright, Jr. at the Dad's Inc. website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Brummell, William C., Sr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1969
Brummell, born in Salina, Kansas, was the first African American member of the Kentucky Parole Board in 1966. He was named to the board by Governor Breathitt for a four year term at $12,000 per year. Brummell, a social worker, had been director of the Louisville-Jefferson County Children's Home. For more see "Negro on Kentucky Board," New York Times, 07/12/1966, p.4.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Social Workers, Migration East, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Salina, Kansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Capers, Jean M.
Birth Year : 1913
Jean Murrell Capers was born in Georgetown, KY. Her family moved to Cleveland, OH, when she was a child. Capers was a teacher in the Cleveland schools before becoming an attorney in 1945. She is a education graduate of Western Reserve University [now Case Western Reserve University]. She was assistant police prosecutor from 1946 until 1949, when she became the first African American elected to the Cleveland City Council. The N.C.N.W. recognized her as one of the 10 outstanding women in public service in 1950. She was the director and organizer of the Central Welfare Association. Capers later became a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge. In 2006, Capers, at 93 years of age, was the oldest practicing member of the National Bar Association. She has received a number of awards, including the 2011 Ohio State Bar Association Nettie Cronise Lutes Award [article online at Call & Post website]. Jean M. Capers is a law graduate of the Cleveland Law School [which merged with the John Marshall School of Law in 1945 to become the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law]. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; The American Bench. Judges of the nation, 2nd edition, ed. by M. Reincke and N. Lichterman; and "Capers oldest member to attend annual convention," National Bar Association Law E-Bulletin, vol. 14, issue 1 (August 2006). Photos of Jean Capers are in the African Americans of Note in Cleveland database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Lawyers, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, Judges
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio
Cayce, James B.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1971
James B. Cayce was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Paul and Mamie Cayce. He was an instructor at Simmons University in Louisville from 1940-1942. During that same time period, he supervised the division of activities within the Department of Public Welfare in Louisville. Cayce was executive director of the Washington Community Association in Hamilton, Ohio, from 1942-1943. He was also a minister and pastored at several churches. Cayce was also editor of the Ohio Baptist News from 1948-1950, authored Negroes and The Cooperative Movement (1940), and wrote a number of articles and editorials. Cayce moved from Ohio to Pittsburgh, PA, where he was the respected pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church from 1950-1971. He was a active member and recruiter of the NAACP and he corresponded with Martin Luther King, Jr. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Ebenezer Baptist Church celebrates its rich history," New Pittsburgh Courier, 07/17/2008, p.B2; and The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. by M. L. King, et al.
See photo image of Rev. James B. Cayce at Carnegie Museum of Art website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Hamilton, Ohio / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Clark, John T.
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1949
John T. Clark was born in Louisville, KY, the son of John R. and Sallie Clark. He graduated in 1906 from Ohio State University with a focus in sociology and economics. Clark returned to Louisville, where he was an instructor at Central High School (1907-1913). He left Louisville to become housing secretary in New York City (1913-1916). He was a contributing author to the 1915 collection, "Housing and Living Conditions among Negroes in Harlem." Clark held a number of posts with the National Urban League and its state chapters from 1916 to1949, including bringing the National Urban League to Pittsburgh in 1917 and becoming executive secretary of the St. Louis Urban League, beginning in 1926. Also a member of the American Social Workers Association, Clark was elected the third vice president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1940. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1950. The John T. Clark files of the Urban League of St. Louis are available at the Washington University of St. Louis Library.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Migration West, Social Workers, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Urban Leagues, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York City, New York / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / St. Louis, Missouri
Coggs, Pauline Redmond
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2005
Pauline Coggs was born in Paris, Kentucky, the daughter of Rev. John B. and Josephine B. Redmond. The family moved to Chicago, where Coggs graduated from high school and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology at the University of Chicago. She earned a master's degree in social work at the University of Pittsburgh. Coggs was the first African American woman to head the Washington, D.C. Urban League. She also directed the youth activities department in the Chicago Urban League, 1936-1940. She was a part-time instructor in the Department of Social Work at Howard University, 1943-1944, and later became the assistant executive secretary of the Wisconsin Welfare Council, 1947-1948. Coggs was the author of "Race Relations Advisers - Messiahs or Quislings," Opportunity, 1943. She was a confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt. The governor of Wisconsin appointed her to the Wisconsin Civil Rights Commission. Pauline R. Coggs was the aunt of Wisconsin Senator Spencer Coggs. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. created the Pauline Redmond Coggs Foundation, Inc. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; C. Stephenson, "Striving to combat myths and ignorance never goes out of style," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/04/02, B News section, p.02; and F. Thomas-Lynn, "Coggs 'silent strength' behind political dynasty," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 07/28/2005, B News section, p. 07.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Chicago, Illinois / Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Doneghy, Joseph E.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 1993
Born in Louisville, KY, Doneghy was a graduate of the University of Toledo Law School [now University of Toledo College of Law] and studied at the University of Chicago School of Social Work [now The School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago]. He was employed as a field worker with the Cook County Bureau of Public Welfare; playground director with the Division of Recreation in Toledo, Ohio; assistant supervisor of the Negro F.E.R.A. Schools; and probation counselor in the Lucas County Juvenile Courts in Ohio, beginning in 1938. He chaired the Ohio Pardon and Parole Commission before moving to Washington, D.C., where he was a hearing examiner with the U.S. Parole Board. In 1985, Doneghy retired from his position on the appeals council at Social Security. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and "Joseph E. Doneghy" in the obituaries of the Washington Post, 04/26/1993, Metro section, p. B4.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Lawyers, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Toledo, Ohio / Washington, D.C.
Edwards, Sallie N.
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Beaumont, KY, Edwards participated in the March on Washington Movement of 1941 and the American Council on Human Rights. She was a social worker. She wrote articles that appeared in Southwestern Christian Advocate and other magazines and taught at Stowe Teachers College in St. Louis, MO. For more see Supplement to Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Harris Stowe State College, a St. Louis positive..., an African American Registry website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Beaumont, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri
Elzy, Robert James
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1972
Born in Lexington, KY, Elzy was a 1909 graduate of Fisk University and completed his graduate work at Columbia University and New York University. He was assistant principal and a teacher at Joseph K. Brick School in North Carolina, then taught for a year at State Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]. Elzy left Kentucky to practice social work in Brooklyn, New York. He was the founder and executive secretary of the Brooklyn Urban League, chaired the Colored Case Committee of the Bedford and Ft. Green districts of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities, and was treasurer of the Brooklyn Social Service League. Robert J. Elzy was the husband of Louise Voorhees Elzy. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29 and 1950; and "Robert Elzy of Urban League, champion of Black welfare, dies," New York Times, 02/20/1972, p. 68.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers, Migration East, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina / Brooklyn, New York
Harris, William H., Jr.
Birth Year : 1903
William H. Harris, Jr. was born in Russellville, KY, the son of William and Hattie Harris. The family lived on West Bank Street in 1910, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and William Sr. was a minister at the Baptist Church. William Harris Jr. taught at Western Seminary in Kansas City and at Douglass High School in Webster Groves, MO, from 1928 to 1930. He served as director of the Community House in Moline, IL, 1930-1933, and was pastor at several churches in Missouri. He also served as director of foreign mission work in Missouri. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Kansas City and Webster Groves, Missouri / Moline, Illinois
Hooks, Julia Britton
Birth Year : 1852
Death Year : 1942
Julia B. Hooks was born in Frankfort, KY. A musician, social worker, educator, and juvenile court officer, she and her husband managed a juvenile detention home that was opened next to their house in Memphis. One of the wards killed her husband. Hooks went on to help found the Old Folks and Orphans Home. Julia Hooks was the daughter of Henry and Laura Marshall Britton. She was mother of photographers Henry and Robert Hooks, grandmother to Benjamin Hooks, and sister to Dr. Mary E. Britton. For more see Notable Black American Women, ed. by J. C. Smith; Julia Hooks entry in the Afro-American Encyclopaedia: Or, the Thoughts, Doings..., by James T. Haley, pp. 563-565 [from the UNC Library's Documenting the American South website]; and the Julia Britton Hooks entry by S. Lewis in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture [online version].
See photo image and additional information on Julia Hooks at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Corrections and Police, Social Workers, Migration South, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee
Hunn, Vanessa L.
Birth Year : 1958
Vanessa Hunn, a native of Lexington, KY, is the daughter of Demosthenes and Verline Hunn. A social worker for more than 20 years, in 2006 Vanessa Hunn became the first African American to earn a Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work; she was also the first to be admitted to the social work doctoral program at UK. Also in 2006, Hunn was the only recipient chosen nationwide to receive the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Research from the Council on Social Work Education. The fellowship is for doctoral students preparing for leadership positions in mental health and substance abuse fields. Hunn's research examines "Depression, Self-Efficacy, Income, and Child Outcomes in African American Welfare Recipients." She is also the recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award and is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and Alpha Delta Mu National Social Work Honor Society. In fall 2007, she became an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern Indiana. In addition to her Ph. D. in social work, Hunn earned both her bachelor's and master's from the University of Kentucky, where she also taught in the social work program. Vanessa L. Hunn is presently an assistant professor of Social Work at Northern Kentucky University.
See photo image and additional information about Dr. Vanessa L. Hunn at the Northern Kentucky University website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Evansville, Indiana / Highland Heights, Kentucky
Irons, Sandra Jean
Birth Year : 1940
Irons was born in Middlesboro, KY, to Roy and Rosa Green Carr. She is a graduate of Kentucky State University, and Purdue University. Prior to becoming an educator, she was a social worker with the Ohio Department of Social Welfare. In 1971, she became president of the Gary, IN, Teachers Union and continues as president today. Since 1974, she has been a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (AFT). She was the first vice president of the NW Indiana Federation of Labor in 1987, and became president in 1995. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1980-2006.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky / Gary, Indiana
Jernagin, Cordelia J. Woolfolk
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1977
In 1924, Cordelia J. Woolfolk, born in Frankfort, KY, was a claims adjuster at the National Benefit Insurance Company in Washington, D.C. She was considered a woman who had landed a high position job. The insurance company was founded by Samuel W. Rutherford in 1898, it was an African American-owned business. Cordelia J. Woolfolk had previously worked for an insurance company in Frankfort, KY. According to a 1924 article by Charles E. Stump in the Broad Axe newspaper in Chicago, Cordelia Woolfolk had advanced in the insurance business from her job in Frankfort to her job in Washington, D.C. [source: "Charles E. Stump, the slick old time traveling correspondent...," Broad Axe, 04/19/1924, p.3, paragraph 6 of article]. Prior to working in insurance, she was a school teacher in Bagdad, KY. Cordelia J. Woolfolk was in Washington, D.C. as early as 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. In 1922, her name was on p.1666 in Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia. She is listed in the 1933 directory and the 1934 directory; Woolfolk was employed as a stenographer and a bookkeeper. In the 1939 directory, she is listed on p.1402, and was employed at the Southeast Settlement House. The establishment was found in 1929 by Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee and provided daycare and recreation for African American children. In 1945, Cordelia J. Woolfolk was a social worker in Washington, D.C. when she married civil rights activist, Rev. William Henry Jernagin (1870-1958), pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and an internationally known church leader and activist. For more see "Jernagin takes bride," Afro-American, 08/11/1945, p.10; and "Dr. Jernagin still active pastor at 88," Afro-American, 10/19/1957, p.3.
Subjects: Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Migration North, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Bagdad, Shelby County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.
John Little Mission (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1897
The John Little Mission was one of the first community centers in the United States for African Americans. It was founded in 1897 when students at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary [now Louisville Seminary] started offering services to African Americans in the Smoketown neighborhood in Louisville, KY: Sunday School, worship services, domestic arts classes for women, and trades classes for men. John Little, who was white and from Alabama, was one of the founders of the seminary. In 1904 he began supervising the mission and added another site and more services, including vocational training. For more see the history page at the Louisville Seminary website; and R. E. Luker, "Missions, institutional churches, and settlement houses: the Black experience, 1885-1910," Journal of Negro History, vol.69, issue 3/4 (Summer-Autumn, 1984), pp. 101-113. The notes at the end of the Luker article contain a list of additional sources.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Johnson, Wendell L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1897
Born in Lexington, KY, the son of Katie Nelson Johnson and Churchill Johnson. The family lived with Katie's mother, Amanda Nelson, on East Main Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Wendell would become a social worker with the Shawnee County Welfare Center in Topeka, Kansas, beginning in 1934. He was director of youth work with the National Baptists and became the first president of both the Kansas State Layman Movement and the Kaw Valley District Baptist Layman Movement in 1950. He was also vice president of the Topeka Council of Churches, beginning in 1949. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Topeka, Kansas
Mitchell, Fred D.
Birth Year : 1944
Born in Lexington, KY, Mitchell has been an activist, social worker, and community development leader in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati. As a teen in Lexington, he legally challenged the breach of peace laws and segregation of public accommodations and led protests against school segregation. He was treasurer of the Lexington Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and led the Young African Americans for Progress. In the 1970s, Mitchell moved to Louisville and became the city's first paid alderman assistant (to Lois Morris). As a social work student, he was instrumental in establishing the University of Louisville chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers. Mitchell was also the first African American director of the Wesley Community House [founded in 1903 by the United Methodist Church to provide social welfare and other services in the Butchertown, Phoenix Hill and Clarksdale areas]. The Courier-Journal in Louisville named him one of the city's "Bridge Builders." Mitchell is presently employed by Community Action of Southern Indiana. For more see The Lexington Herald-Leader, August 17-18, 1967 and Sept. 5 & 7, 1967; and the Courier-Journal, Jan. 29, 1992, July 28, 1993, Jan. 1, 1997 and April 11, 2004.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indiana
Pryor, Albert Conklin, Jr.
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2005
Pryor was born in Paducah, KY, the son of Albert C. Pryor, Sr. and Minnie Moreland Pryor. Pryor, Jr. graduated from Le Moyne College in 1942 and taught at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] before earning a master's degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. In 1954 he became the first African American hired to teach high school in the Springfield, MA, school system. Pryor earned his Ph. D. in 1963 from the University of Connecticut, and in 1967 he was hired as a full professor at Western New England College, where he created and developed the school's social work program; he retired from there in 1983. The Al Pryor Award for Social Work was named in his honor. Pryor wrote the thesis, The reactions of Negro veterans to their military experiences, and was co-author of The Negro population of Kentucky at mid-century. For more see "Albert C. Pryor, Jr.," The Republican (newspaper), 02/05/2005, Obits section, p. B04.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Social Workers, Sociologists & Social Scientists
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Springfield, Massachusetts
Robinson, James H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1963
James Hathaway Robinson, Sr. was born in Sharpsburg, KY, the son of Nathaniel and Martha Robinson. He moved to Cincinnati in 1915 to teach sixth grade at Douglass School. Robinson was a World War I veteran. He would become the Executive Secretary of the Negro Civic Welfare Association, which sponsored African American social work for the City of Cincinnati. He was also author of a number of publications, including the "Cincinnati Negro Survey" (later called "The Negro in Cincinnati"), published by the National Conference of Social Work in 1919; and "Social Agencies and Race Relations," a printed address in the Proceedings of the National Inter-Racial Conference (1925). Robinson attended Fisk University, earning his A.B. in 1911. He earned a second A.B. degree in 1912, an M.A. degree in 1914, and then pursued his Ph.D. in sociology, all at Yale University. He was the first African American to receive a fellowship at Yale University, the Larned Fellowship in 1913. Robinson also studied sociology and social service at the graduate level at Columbia University from 1914-1915. James H. Robinson, Sr. was a member of several organizations, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and he was the only African American member of the National Council of the American Association of Social Workers. He was the husband of Neola E. Woodson, who was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the newly formed Zeta Chapter in 1920. She was a school teacher in Cincinnati and at Covington High School. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; River Jordan, by J. W. Trotter, Jr.; Race and the city: work, community, and protest in Cincinnati, 1820-1970, by H. L. Taylor; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
See photo image of James Hathaway Robinson, Sr. within the Digital Images Database at Yale University Manuscripts and Archives.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Social Workers, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Sharpsburg, Bath County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
Sandusky, Annie L.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1976
Born in Louisville, KY, Sandusky was a pioneer in social work. She moved to Illinois and became casework supervisor of the Cook County Bureau of Public Welfare. She also became a probation officer for Cook County and Social Services Consultant for the Illinois Public Aid Commission. In 1954 she became consultant to the Children's Bureau of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C. Sandusky published many articles and reports on child welfare. For more see Contemporary Authors. A bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields, vols. 69-72.
Subjects: Authors, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Simmons, George W., Jr.
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2004
Simmons was born 1911 in Tehula, MS, to George Simmons, Sr. and Corrie Cade Smith Simmons. He came to Frankfort, KY, in 1937 to attend Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. Simmons had very little and worked tirelessly to afford his education; he flunked out of school and was inducted into the Army in 1942. He was honorably discharged in 1945; he had received 5 Battle Stars and a Good Conduct Medal. Simmons completed his college degree at Kentucky State in 1950 and taught high school in Scott County until 1956 when the school system was integrated; Simmons, who did not have tenure, was let go. He was hired in a special position in adoptions with the Kentucky Department of Economic Security; the state was attempting "to stimulate the Negro phase of the adoption program." In 1993, Simmons was recognized along with other African American teachers from Scott County's segregated schools. Learn more about George W. Simmons, Jr. in his book A Determined Man: an autobiography; see also J. Lucke, "Scott teachers honored for giving lessons of life," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/15/19993, City/State section, p. B1.
See photo image of George Simmons in the Kentucky Historical Society Digital collections.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Tehula, Mississippi / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Scott County, Kentucky
Spaulding, Jane Morrow
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1965
Jane M. Spaulding was born in Logan County, KY, and raised in Nashville, TN. Her ancestors founded Keysburg in Logan County. She was the first African American female assistant secretary in the cabinet of a U.S. President; she was later appointed by President Eisenhower as Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At that time the position made her the highest paid African American employed by the federal government. In 1953, she was named Woman of the Year by the National Council of Negro Women. Spaulding had served as chairman of finance for the organization. In 1951, she served as the U.S. representative to the Triennial Council of Women in Athens, Greece. She was a graduate of Fisk University. Jane Spaulding was the wife of Dr. Albert L. Spaulding, Sr. and mother of Dr. Albert L. Spaulding, Jr. For more see J. Eads, "In Washington," The Independent Record, 06/29/1953, p.4; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and Notable Black American Women. Book II, edited by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Keysburg, Logan County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Washington, D.C.
Steppe, Cecil H.
Birth Year : 1933
Steppe was born in Versailles, KY, the son of Esther and Grant Steppe and the nephew of Rebecca Craft. When Grant and Esther separated, Esther took the children and moved to San Diego, where they at first lived with Craft. Cecil Steppe is a graduate of San Diego City College and California Western University [now Alliant International University]. Since 2001, Steppe has served as president and CEO of the San Diego County Urban League. He came to the Urban League after two years retirement from San Diego County; Steppe had been employed with the county for 35 years, both as director of social services and as Chief Probation Officer of San Diego County. In 2007, Steppe announced that he would retire from the Urban League. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; K. Kucher, "Steppe leaves lasting imprint on county," San Diego Union-Tribune, 07/05/1999, NEWS section, p. A-1; and "Urban Leagues leader to resume his retirement," San Diego Union-Tribune, 02/15/2007, Local section, p. B-2.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration West, Corrections and Police, Social Workers, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / San Diego, California
Valentine, Lee A.
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Mayfield, KY, Valentine was an insurance salesman with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, beginning in 1946. He was also responsible for leading the campaign to build a new 10-room elementary school for African American children. Valentine was vice president of the Elizabeth City Civic and Welfare League and publicity chairman of the NAACP chapter. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Social Workers, Migration East, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Ware, William, Sr.
Birth Year : 1872
Ware was born in Lexington, KY. He was a fraternal worker at Main St. Baptist Church in Lexington and Antioch Baptist Church in Cincinnati. He founded the Welfare Association for Colored People of Cincinnati in 1917, serving as president 1917-1920. He was also a long-time president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) of Cincinnati, beginning in 1920. He was the husband of Lucie Ware, born 1878 in KY; in 1920 the family of 11 lived on Barr Street in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The family moved to Cincinnati in 1903. William Ware, Sr. was the son of Alfred and Jane Ware. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29, and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio
Williams, Lucille L. Brown
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1982
Born in Ghent, KY, Williams moved to Indiana, where she worked as a day nursery director, owned a grocery store, and was a social services director. She was also very active in social organizations, including being the founding member of the Lucille Lucas Williams Federated Club in 1952. The Lucille L. Williams Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see the "Lucille L. Williams" entry in the Guide to African-American History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Ghent, Carroll County, Kentucky / Indiana
Wolfe, William K.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2002
Wolfe, born in Bowling Green, KY, was the former executive director of the Greater Cleveland Urban League, 1972-1984, and is credited with developing the organization into a multi-million dollar operation. He had also been head of the Urban League in Westchester County, NY, and was the housing coordinator for the New York Housing Authority. He was a past president of the Ohio Welfare Conference and had begun his social work career with the Dayton YMCA. Wolfe was a social work graduate of Springfield College and Adelphi University. He founded the Black Professional Association of Cleveland. For more see A. Baranick, "William K. Wolfe, led Urban League," Plain Dealer, 12/31/2002, Metro section, p. B7.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Social Workers, Urban Leagues, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio / Westchester County, New York