Forrester Blanchard Washington and His Advocacy for African Americans in the New Deal

By Barrow, Frederica H. | Social Work, July 2007 | Go to article overview

Forrester Blanchard Washington and His Advocacy for African Americans in the New Deal


Barrow, Frederica H., Social Work


For six months in 1934, before the enactment of the Social Security Act, Forrester Blanchard Washington agitated for social change as director of Negro Work in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and used his reputation and accomplishments as a social work leader to create broad awareness of the negative consequences of the New Deal's social welfare policy for African Americans (Kirby, 1980). His advocacy is significant because his efforts represent social work's early attention to the need for work opportunities for African American people. Washington sought to change policies that placed African Americans on public assistance programs and that "reinforced the links of dependence and subordination" between them and elite white people (Lieberman, 2005, p. 65).

Washington's efforts were important to the evolution of social work in the United States because he advocated for a vulnerable African American population at a time when the profession, mirroring the broader society, generally offered little validation for their contributions to the cultural, social, and economic development of the country. Some leading white settlement house leaders and their associates, including Jane Addams, Louise de Koven, Frances Kellor, and John Daniels, blamed the social and economic problems of African Americans "on what they considered [to be] the weakness of the black family, the degradation of the black individual psyche and the annihilation of culture, all resulting from the system of slavery" (Lasch-Quinn, 1993, p. 13). The role of government and public policy in creating these problems was secondarily considered. The perspectives held by these settlement house movement leaders had long-term consequences in that they dominated the thinking of reformers who came after them (Lasch-Quinn). They helped create the social work climate in which Washington worked for equal employment for African Americans.

WASHINGTON'S BACKGROUND

Washington was born in 1887 in Salem, Massachusetts, where his New England location somewhat protected him during his formative years from the open racism that constrained the lives of his southern African American peers. Washington's family raised him in this comparatively tolerant environment and was able to provide him with the opportunity for a rich education, one that was exceptional for African Americans of that era (Barrow, 2002). Washington graduated from Tufts College (now University) in 1909, completing a classical curriculum (Tufts University, 1950). He pursued a post-baccalaureate degree in economics at Harvard University from 1912 to 1914 (Harvard University Archives, 2000) and graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in social economy in 1917 (Columbia University, 1925). Washington also trained at the New York School of Social Work, with support from a National Urban League (NUL) fellowship.

In the ensuing years, Washington held a number of important leadership positions. He served as the first director of the Detroit Urban League, where he assisted African American migrants in gaining employment. He became director of an NUL affiliate in Philadelphia in 1923 (Barrow, 2002), and three years later he became the director and an educator at the Atlanta School of Social Work (Carlton-LaNey, 1999). It was from this position that Washington was recruited to become director of Negro Work in FERA in February 1934 (Barrow).

Washington was always concerned with the broader social, political, and economic needs of African Americans. In both the North and the South, he took an early stand on the importance of African American employment and self-help because he believed that personal integrity emanated from employment and self-sufficiency (Barrow, 2002). In the 1920s he conducted a newspaper crusade against housing conditions and landlord exploitation in Philadelphia that were contributing to high infant mortality rates and communicable disease in African American communities (Washington, 1925). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Forrester Blanchard Washington and His Advocacy for African Americans in the New Deal
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.