The Black Power Movement and American Social Work

Joyce Bell

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Black Power movement has often been portrayed in history and popular culture as the quintessential "bad boy" of modern black movement-making in America. Yet this impression misses the full extent of Black Power's contributions to U.S. society, especially in regard to black professionals in social work.

Relying on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, Joyce M. Bell follows two groups of black social workers in the 1960s and 1970s as they mobilized Black Power ideas, strategies, and tactics to change their national professional associations. Comparing black dissenters within the National Federation of Settlements (NFS), who fought for concessions from within their organization, and those within the National Conference on Social Welfare (NCSW), who ultimately adopted a separatist strategy, she shows how the Black Power influence was central to the creation and rise of black professional associations. She also provides a nuanced approach to studying race-based movements and offers a framework for understanding the role of social movements in shaping the non-state organizations of civil society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherColumbia University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9780231538015
ISBN (Print)9780231162609
StatePublished - 2014


  • Black Power Movement
  • Sociology
  • Black History
  • Social Work
  • Social Welfare History
  • National Association of Black Social Workers
  • Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The Black Power Movement and American Social Work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this