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

Barrow, Frederica H.
July 2007
Social Work;Jul2007, Vol. 52 Issue 3, p201
Academic Journal
Forrester Blanchard Washington (1887-1963) was an African American social work pioneer recruited to the first New Deal administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as director of Negro Work in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. This role gave Washington a platform from which to object strenuously to the development of social policies that were predisposing African Americans to chronic dependence on welfare programs instead of creating equal opportunities for employment. Washington's policy analysis and recommendations represent social work's advocacy for equal employment opportunity long before the related civil rights legislation in the 1960s. An analysis is offered to explain Washington's decision to abort his federal career when the political agenda of the Roosevelt administration began to conflict with his values and professional goals. His actions are exemplary of resignation in protest--an aspect of advocacy more often discussed than used. This article is based on Washington's writings and materials found in the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland.


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