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Height, Dorothy I.  

Sunny Sinha

Dorothy Irene Height (1912–2010) was best known for her leadership positions with National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA), as she was instrumental in directing the efforts of both these organizations to address the issues of racial justice and gender equality.


Brown, W. Gertrude  

Sadye L. M. Logan

Willie G. Brown, later known as W. Gertrude Brown (1888–1939), was a phenomenal woman and an activist for racial justice and the rights of women and children.


Chisholm, Shirley  

Tanya Smith Brice

Shirley Chisholm (1924–2005) was a political leader and activist best known as the first African American woman elected to the US House of Representatives and the first African American to seek the Democratic Party nomination for US President.


Jackson, Mae  

Vijayan K. Pillai and Julie Nagoshi

Dr. Mae Allison Johnson Jackson, a social worker and activist, overcame discrimination and segregation to become the first African American woman mayor of Waco, Texas. She fought for equality, worked with the National Council of Negro Women, and participated in civil rights programs. Dr. Jackson’s impact on several aspects of development in Waco was still felt almost 20 years later.


Patterson, Sybil Agatha  

Dionne V. Frank

Sybil Agatha Patterson—AA (July 9, 1924–December 5, 2017) was a Guyanese social work pioneer known across the Anglophone Caribbean region for her contributions to social work education, community development, and women’s rights activism. In 1986, the Government of Guyana awarded her the Golden Arrow of Achievement (AA) for her contributions to social work, women’s research studies, and women’s development programs. Sybil Patterson was also a scholar and an adviser on social development to governments, the region’s nongovernmental sector, and international organizations. Her noble contributions to social work education and practice in Guyana impacted many professionals, who resultantly called her the matriarch of social work.


Humphreys, Nancy A.  

Sadye L. M. Logan

Nancy A. Humphreys (1938–2019) was Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and founder and director of the Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. She was a pioneer who served with distinction, and left a rich legacy in advocating for women rights, social justice, and the development of political social work.


Marshall, Thurgood  

Karen D. Stout

Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, is credited with ending American apartheid. He fought for the civil and equal rights for ethnic minorities, women's rights, prisoners' rights, and was opposed to the death penalty.


Arenal, Concepción  

Maribel Martín-Estalayo, Aurora Castillo, María José Barahona, and Begoña Leyra

This article studies the influence of Concepción Arenal (1820–1893) on the foundations of social work in Spain. With her, one can learn about the most important ideas of the 19th-century liberal school of thought, which, in its enlightened and reforming aspect, had a great impact on the consideration of human dignity, poverty, the relationship between intervener and intervened—as well as the role and responsibility of the state, civil society, and charity in social intervention. Her pragmatic perspective stands out among those authors who contributed with elements of analysis to theorizing the social question in Spain. Her singularity is defined by the centrality of the human being and the integral development of one’s abilities in a society where the necessary means can be found. Additionally, she is both a national and international inspiration thanks to her contribution to women’s rights and the reform of the penal code.