“A Nice Social Tea Party”

Joyce M. Bell

in The Black Power Movement and American Social Work

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print June 2014 | ISBN: 9780231162609
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231538015 | DOI:
“A Nice Social Tea Party”

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This chapter recounts the history of the service/activism tension in the social work profession. It examines the debates within social work organizations during the advent of the civil rights movement, as well as the effect brought about by race riots and the emerging Black Power movement on discourses about activism in the profession. During a social movement surge, activism is often characterized by the practices of said movements. Groups who traverse between activism and some other role (direct service, advocacy), such as social workers, are forced to rethink their roles in movements. The conflict lies within the organization's identity, asking whether or not they are the sort of institution that participates in civil rights marches. This aura of uncertainty produced openings for disagreeing social workers to seek change within the profession.

Keywords: activism; social work organizations; civil rights movement; Black Power movement; social work profession

Chapter.  7289 words. 

Subjects: Social Policy and Advocacy

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