In these modern, fast paced times, we teach and prepare students to get ready for a future of increased privatization of services,
a more educated, consumer-oriented clientele and a computer-driven service delivery system. At the same time we want to remind
them of amazing human lessons, inspirations and triumphs from the past. For social work at its very core has always been
about people – our stories, our relationship and our awesome capacities to change and grow.
The history of social work as a profession is fascinating and multifaceted. It merits prominence in the curriculum. In this
special issue we wanted to feature a few stories of social work, social workers, and social reform. As with the old, old stories,
our stories transmit our ethical obligations more clearly to the next generation than any textbook assignment.
In addition to words, we provide a visual record of social hopes and social reform. Pictures speak deeply about our professional
heritage. Social work educators are less skilled at sharing visuals than at sharing stories, so we have an especially rich
trove of graphics to tempt you in your classes.
The main article by Meryl Nadel was a new story for both of us: in the early years of the last century the Russell Sage Foundation
sponsored studies of poverty in major American cities; the Pittsburgh study was large and ambitious, and based on the idealistic
notion that consciences would be pricked when the powerful were faced with devastating facts about the human toll of unalloyed
Paul Stuart, Chair of BPD Archives and History Committee shares the institutional history of BPD and baccalaureate social
work. Yolanda shares her research on “forgotten” African-American social workers and social reformers.
And … we want to hear your stories. With this issue we begin an ongoing endpage feature on your work with students,
faculty, and administration. Please feel free to contribute your own stories to the treasure chest. Ultimately, it is the
stories that will last.