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Article

Hamer, Fannie Lou  

Sadye L. M. Logan

Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She dedicated her life to community organizing and the fight for human and civil rights. Hamer was also the co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Article

Clark, Septima Poinsette  

Brenda K. J. Crawley

Septima Poinsetta Clark (1898–1987) is well-known for her citizenship schools, literacy training, voting and civil rights activism, and community, political, and social services.

Article

Abernathy, Ralph David  

Lou M. Beasley

Ralph David Abernathy (1926–1990) was a pastor who became president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after the assassination of Martin Luther King. He was director of personnel, dean of men, and professor of social studies at Alabama State University.

Article

Sexual Harassment  

Sondra J. Fogel and Doris A. Boateng

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination as well as a complex social issue with psychological implications for both those who are harassed and those who perpetrate the harassment. Women continue to be primary targets, although men, youths, and sexual minorities are increasingly pursued. Legally prohibited in the workplace and educational institutions, sexual harassment persists in personal interactions as well as by electronic means despite prevention efforts such as education programs and zero-tolerance policies. This entry will define sexual harassment, provide an overview of its prevalence, and describe approaches for its remedy.

Article

Blindness and Visual Impairment  

Adrienne Asch and Nancy R. Mudrick

Significant visual impairment affects ~8 million Americans, 1.8 million of whom are blind and must find nonvisual methods of performing life roles. Social workers should not assume that people with visual impairment or blindness are unable to work, have families, or engage in sports or travel, or that vision limitations are necessarily a part of every presenting problem. Key roles for social workers include assisting in access to services and training and advocacy to combat discrimination and exclusion.

Article

Civil Liberties  

Theodore J. Stein

Civil liberties refer to certain freedoms granted to all citizens. They have been established as bills of rights in the constitutions of such countries as the United States, India, South Africa, and Great Britain. Civil rights differ from civil liberties in that the former are expressed in statutes enacted by legislative bodies. Civil liberties limit the state's power to interfere in the lives of its citizens, whereas civil rights take a more proactive role to ensure that all citizens have equal protection. Civil liberties are most endangered during national emergencies when governments infringe on individual liberties to safeguard the nation.

Article

Robison, Sophie Moses  

Larraine M. Edwards

Sophie Moses Robison (1888–1969) was a social worker, educator, and researcher who helped create social policy changes for juvenile delinquents. She held a PhD in sociology from Columbia University. Her research efforts and recommendations resulted in urban educational reform.

Article

Wilkins, Roy  

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins

Roy Wilkins (1901–1981) was a writer and national civil rights spokesperson. He was assistant executive secretary and executive director of the NAACP for 46 years, during which time he struggled for justice and civil rights in all aspects of American life.

Article

Civil Rights  

Tanya Smith Brice, Denise McLane-Davison, and Tyler A. Brice

Civil rights is the protection of citizens from infringement by governmental entities and the extension of basic rights. Civil rights are based on citizenship status. The 14th Amendment establishes U.S. citizenship that has been extended throughout history to different groups. Civil rights legislation is grounded in this question of citizenship. As social workers, it is important that we understand this relationship and advocate to continue broadening the constitutional promise of “equal protection under the laws” to all who reside within the United States.

Article

Newman, Isaiah DeQuincey  

Sadye L. M. Logan

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman (1910–2008), a tireless advocate for human and civil rights, was a life-long humanitarian and one of the state’s most important civil rights leaders; he worked to bring peace and justice to all South Carolinians.

Article

Mahaffey, Maryann  

Gary Mathews

Maryann Mahaffey (1925–2006) was elected to Detroit City Council in 1974, where she served until January, 2006. She used her political influence to address the issues of poverty, women's rights, civil rights, and the peace movement.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

Parks, Rosa  

Brenda F. McGadney

Rosa Parks (1913–2005) was best known as an African American civil rights activist, who in 1955 refused to give up her seat to a White man on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, leading to conviction for civil disobedience and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The 112th U.S. Congress celebrated her 100th birthday as National Day of Courage with a resolution recognizing her as the “first lady of civil rights” and the “mother of freedom movement” and commemorates her “legacy to inspire all people of the United States to stand up for freedom and the principles of the Constitution.”

Article

Alexander, Chauncey A.  

Paul A. Abels

Chauncey A. Alexander (1916–2005) was Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers from 1967 to 1982 and founder and president of the First Amendment Foundation. He was instrumental in developing an International Code of Ethics for social workers.

Article

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt  

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins

W. E. B. Du Bois (1882–1973) was a Black scholar, writer, and militant civil rights activist. He actively fought against discrimination in all aspects of American life. He founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and edited The Crisis, the organizational magazine he founded in 1910.

Article

King, Martin Luther, Jr.  

Iris Carlton-LaNey

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) was a civil rights leader, a minister, and an orator. In 1963, he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech and received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

Article

Transgender People  

M. J. Gilbert

In this entry, transgender is defined in the context of ethnomethodology and social construction of gender. A history of the role of transgender people in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights movement is presented, including tensions concerning the role of transgender people in this movement. Issues regarding social work practice related to transgender issues on the micro, mezzo, macro, and meta levels are discussed.

Article

Bruno, Frank John  

Jean K. Quam

Frank John Bruno (1874–1955) was an administrator and educator whose expertise and leadership influenced American social work. Working initially with the Associated Charities, he moved into academia, becoming president of two different bodies of social workers.