Janie Porter Barrett


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(1865–1948) Janie Porter Barrett was a social welfare leader who founded the first social settlement in Virginia. She was born to emancipated slaves in Athens, Georgia. In 1894 Barrett began teaching after graduating from Hampton Institute in Virginia. She taught for five years before becoming involved in social welfare activities. In 1902, with the help of northern philanthropists, Barrett founded the Locust Street Social Settlement. This settlement was the first of its kind in Virginia and one of the first settlements for Black people in the United States. In 1908 she helped organize the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. As first president of the organization, she led the federation in the establishment of the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls, a rehabilitation facility. Barrett later became the superintendent of the school. By 1920, with help from child welfare leaders such as Hastings Hart, the institution had achieved national recognition. The William E. Harman Award for Distinguished Achievement Among Negroes was presented to her in 1929. In 1950 the Virginia Industrial School was renamed the Janie Porter Barrett School for Girls. See Notable American Women (1971), by Edward T. Jones, Janet W. James, and Paul S. Bayer, and Dictionary of American Negro Biography (1982), by Rayford W. Logan and Michael Winston.

From Encyclopedia of Social Work in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Social Work.