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4. To aid in the economic development of the Black Community.
5. To aid in the cultural development of the Black Community.
6. To assist Black Social Workers entrance into the graduate schools of social work.
7. To support efforts to make social work schools relevant to the needs of Black people.
8. To engage in activities that will aid the Black Community to obtain control over its social institutions.
9. To bring about change in the racist education and training policies, programs, and practices of social welfare agencies, institutions, and undergraduate and graduate schools of social work.

1. Individual Membership in an affiliated local Chapter shall constitute individual membership in the National Association.
2. An individual may apply to the National office for membership when he lives in an area where no local chapter exists. If there is no local chapter the membership dues to the National is $50.00.

In America today, no Black person, except the selfish or irrational, can claim neutrality in the quest for Black liberation nor fail to consider the implications of the events taking place in our society. Given the necessity for committing ourselves to the struggle for freedom, we as Black Americans practicing in the field of social welfare set forth this statement of ideals and guiding principles.

If a sense of community awareness is a precondition to humanitarian acts, then we as Black social workers must use our knowledge of the Black Community, our commitments to its self-determination and our helping skills for the benefit of Black people as we marshal our expertise to improve the quality of life of Black people. Our activities will be guided by our Black consciousness, our determination to protect the security of the Black community and to serve as advocates to relieve suffering of Black people by any means necessary.

Therefore, as Black social workers we commit ourselves, collectively, to the interests of our Black brethren and as individuals subscribe to the following statements:

I regard as my primary obligation the welfare of the Black individual, Black family and Black community and will engage in action for improving social conditions.

I give precedence to this mission over my personal interests.

I adopt the concept of a Black extended family and embrace all Black people as my brothers and sisters, making no distinction between their destiny and my own.

I hold myself responsible for the quality and extent of service I perform and the quality and extent of service performed by the agency or organization in which I am employed, as it relates to the Black Community.

I accept the responsibility to protect the Black community against unethical and hypocritical practice by any individuals or organizations engaged in social welfare activities.

I stand ready to supplement my paid or professional advocacy with voluntary service in the Black public interest.

I will consciously use my skills, and my whole being, as an instrument for social change, with particular attention directed to the establishment of Black social institutions.

[[caption]]Cenie Jomo Williams, Jr. 

Brother Williams was elected as Vice President of the N.Y.U. Chapter of NABSW in 1968. In 1969, he was elected President of the New York City Chapter of NABSW. In 1970 he was the 1st Elected President of NABSW. In 1974, he was appointed Executive Director of NABSW. Under his leadership, the organization has grown from eight (8) Chapters to the current one hundred and forty (140) Chapters, not including over 30 affiliates on the International level. During the Summer of 1974, he travelled to over fifteen (15) countries in Africa, including South Africa, where he established ties internationally with Black social Workers and African leaders on behalf of NABSW [[/caption]]

NABWS Opposes Trans-Racial Adoption

The National Association of Black Social Workers has taken a vehement stand against the placement of Black children in white homes for any reason. We affirm the inviolable position of Black children in Black families where they belong physically, psychologically and culturally in order that they receive the total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future. 

Ethnicity is a way of life in these United States, and the world at large; a viable, sensitive, meaningful and legitimate societal construct. This is no less true, nor legitimate for Black people than for other ethnic groups. Ethnic identification is an old concept and entrenched practice in total society, but on some levels appears to be new as it moves from a negative into a positive light. Overt ethnic identification, especially for Blacks, was long suppressed by the social and political pressures speaking to total assimilation of all peoples in that great melting pot. We were made, by devious devices, to view ethnic identification as a self defeating stance, prohibiting our acceptance into the mainstream. Black people are now developing an honest perception of this society; the myths of assimilation and of our inferiority stand bare under glaring light. We now proclaim our truth, substance, beauty and value as ourselves without apology or compromise. The affirmation of our ethnicity promotes our opposition to the trans-racial placements of Black children.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact