"A Proper Attitude of Mind": Socialization, Subordination, and the Rise of the Social Work Profession Among Blacks
In the origins of social work among blacks, they were conceived as objects of provision rather than agents. The main reason for this was that, as with many other areas of social policy affecting blacks in the twentieth century, missionaries and white liberals played the most prominent early role. As increasingly large numbers of Africans moved into urban centers and settled there permanently, especially after the passage of the Native Land Act in 1913, missionaries moved with them. Among the first mission societies to respond to the new challenges of the urban industrial centers was the American Board Mission (ABM). Although its primary area of operation was among the Zulu in Natal during the nineteenth century, ABM missionaries had followed Zulu migrants to the gold mines of the Witwatersrand at an early stage. As early as 1893 the Reverend H. D. Goodenough had established a mission at Doornfontein in Johannesburg, and this was soon followed by missions elsewhere in and around the city, at Brickfields, Mayfair, Robinson Deep, and Elandsfontein. 1 In the decade after 1910 the ABM's presence on the Witwatersrand grew rapidly, and ultimately eclipsed its work in Natal. While the main thrust of the mission's work in Natal had been in education, in the slumyards and mine compounds around Johannesburg the pressing needs were material and social; under the guidance of the Reverend Frederick Brainard Bridgman and his wife, Clara, the ABM to the Witwatersrand began to develop an overtly social Gospel aimed at reclaiming and uplifting the growing urban black population from poverty, disease, and degradation in the slums. This work received a major impetus with the arrival on the Rand of the Reverend Ray E. Phillips in 1918.
Phillips had graduated from the Yale Divinity School in 1917 with the degree of bachelor in divinity. However, as he explained in his book, The Bantu in the City, while at Yale he had "specialised in courses preparing for social