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Article

Oral History and Social Work  

Arlene Bowers Andrews

This article reviews basic skills for conducting and using oral histories, summarizes ethical issues, presents examples relevant to social work, and suggests useful resources. For social workers, oral history can be a way to record the history of social change as well as a means of promoting social change. Oral history can honor, inform, raise consciousness, and motivate action. Oral histories are particularly relevant for historically excluded populations and those with oral traditions. Generating the history requires a thorough awareness of the narrator, the story, and the role of the listener as well as skillful interviewing, use of digital technology, and appropriate archiving.

Article

Locating School Social Work in the Reconstruction Period  

Samantha Guz

The origin of school social work in the United States is frequently traced back to the early 20th century’s visiting teachers movement. To expand on previous scholarship, school social work can be situated in the 19th century by focusing on the organizing impact of Black communities on public education during Reconstruction. First, history provides context for public education during chattel slavery and for the formation of racialized politics in education. This historical context primarily focuses on how access to education was used as a tool to stratify citizenship in the South. Next, the work of Southern Black communities, the Freedmen’s Bureau, and Northern abolition organizations advanced efforts during Reconstruction, specifically the coalition-building to establish Freedmen’s Schools and the advocacy to make education a publicly funded institution. Thus, coalition-building and policy advocacy within school social work’s practice history have the potential to impact contemporary school social work practice.

Article

Sayles, Odessa  

David Cory and Catheleen Jordan

Odessa Sayles, MSW, was a leading advocate for adoption of Black children by Black families in Houston, Texas, during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. She was well known for dedicating her life to children and to uplifting the Black community. Serving as lead program director for foster care and adoptions for Harris County Protective Services for Children, she was steadfast in seeking culturally appropriate homes for children facing adoption.

Article

Womanism and Domestic Violence  

Selena T. Rodgers

Domestic violence is a public health problem shown to inflict severe mental and physical injury on millions of individuals and has considerable social costs. Absent from the literature is an examination of womanism ideologies, which provide a greater understanding of the full praxis that black women who experience domestic violence engage. Drawing from initial conceptualizations of womanism and later contributions of Africana womanism, this article brings into focus pervasive acts of violence perpetrated against black women, their racial loyalty to protect black men, and the limitations of existing domestic violence models and interventions. This entry addresses how these three interconnected areas are treated within the conceptual framework of womanism. An overview of violence against black women reveals the historical and contemporary forms of knowledge and praxis that have sought to overcome the social problem of intimate partner abuse, including the social construction of controlling images and the Power and Control Wheel (The Duluth Model). This entry also examines the prevalence of violence perpetrated against black women and compounding factors. In addition, this author considers the Violence Against Women Act and its consequences on laws and policies that affect the race, gender, and class experiences of black women coping with domestic violence. Also analyzed is the quintessential role of demographics, the culture of domestic violence, and international debates about womanism, including how black women intellectuals are prioritizing race-empowerment perspectives and a reference point to articulate healthy black relationships are prioritized. The article also reviews social work practice with black women victims/survivors of domestic violence and their families.