Essay on Social Work

Published: 2021/12/17
Number of words: 1939

Historically, scholars have educationally described social work and social justice differently concerning the case study. The two terminologies are key factors that affect the daily life of humans as they execute their duties no matter the environment they are in. Social is the form of interaction, and work is the task or any load undertaken by a person. On the other hand, justice is the freedom from negativity one might encounter in any environment as they fight way to have daily needs. Social work and social justice are two terms that are interlinked and employed together to bring about a positive impact in a certain environment as well as promote human rights. The following essay seeks to critically describe social work and social justice and the professionals who have fought for the implementation of the two to the African American people.

Social work is a practice-based job and an educational discipline that promotes social change and advancement, social cohesion, and empowerment and liberation. It is founded on the principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversity (Ornellas et al., 2018). Underpinned by social work theories, social sciences, humanities, and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and improve wellbeing. The social work profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships, and people’s empowerment and liberation to improve people’s wellbeing. Social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments, drawing on human behavior and social systems theories. Human rights and social justice principles are central to social work (Hutchings & Taylor, 2007).

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Social workers are described as people trained to manage the staff to alleviate the conditions of those who need support or welfare. There are many forms of social work, which can be hard to embrace as a social worker (Rollins, 2020). They work with a wide range of populations and people, emphasizing the vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished. On the other hand, social justice is a category of justice that describes how people should have equal rights, opportunities, and treatment as they undertake daily tasks. The two terminologies are interlinked in that a social worker needs social justice to protect human rights, which are key features.

Edward Franklin Frazier was the most popular African American sociologist in the 20th century and was born on September 24th, 1894, and died on May 17th, 1962, in Washington, D.C. He was the son of James H. and Mary Clark Frazier. His lovely parents stand for the worthiness of education as a way to freedom and as a vessel to fight for social justice. He was best known for critical work on the black middle class, Black Bougeoisie(1957), and harsh critic of Jim Crow as the great colonizer of the American Dream for the ‘American Negro’.

Edward promoted social justice through the fight for the fundamental right of the black people. Through his research stated that black American s has full participation in American Democracy. More so, his first major on The Negro Family in the United States (1939), analyzed how social-historical factors such as slavery, urban migration, and social disruption negatively impacted the health of the African American families. He organized a debate with Melville J. Herskovits, a pioneer researcher in African retention into their black culture.

Mary Church Terrell was born on September 23rd, 1963, and died on July 24th, 1954 and she was a daughter to Robert Reed Church and Louisa Ayres, both freed slaves of mixed race. She was the first African American woman to be awarded a college degree, promoting her to national activist for civil rights and suffrage. Her contribution to social justice was very beneficial. She led black women’s clubs and the national association of women of color in support of other women, which aimed to promote unity, social progress, and the interest of the African American community.

Additionally, she fought for black women’s suffrage through National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) since she had been an activist while at Oberlin. These groups aimed to fight for the desire to establish an official coordinating group of black women in America to address killings, racial marginalization, and educational reforms. Finally, integration took the lead and led the role as a community leader and civil rights and women. All named promoted social justice for African American women.

Thyra J. Edwards was born in 1897 and died in 1953; she was a daughter to slaves. She grew up in Houston, Texas, making her start her career path as a school teacher. But lately, she moved to Gary, Indiana, and then Chicago, where she was hired as a social worker. Her popularity and social work position promoted more ranking for American women. She addressed the plight of women and children in 1953, intending to help children who had been victims of the Holocaust. The point of view on this was to address the issues and challenges specifically that affected the wellbeing of women and displayed the potential of working with diverse populations.

Furthermore, she addressed the plight of the blacks across the globe, which is the pillar of her professional philosophy. As an activist, she worked with people of all colors, countries, and cultures when the civil society in the United States believed that black social workers should solely work with black people in America. In her final days, she joined the communist party and many activities, which led to FBI and U.S government intelligence monitoring until her death.

Dr. Iris. B. Carlton-Laney was the most successful woman in her lifetime in the field of social work Education Award. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from North Carolina and is a distinguished professor of community social work. At this point, she was well equipped with social justice and inclusivity practices. Done other research on the aging issues and African American social welfare history. Several awards were given to her, like the national association of the black social workers (2010), the role and status of women in social work education (2011), and many more until 2018, where she was named social worker of the year. She largely committed to this to alarm the need for critical responsibility to practice social justice.

Michael Yellow Bird worked as a dean and professor of social work at the University of Manitoba. He is a member of three nations, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara, from North Dakota, USA. The professor had other research which majored in the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization, ancient health, intermittent fasting, indigenous mindfulness, and more. This act majored in improving the social life of most people. Being a social worker and a professor, he knew the importance of having social justice to have a fair social work environment for everyone. The different books he wrote to address several issues and the rights of the people built her career path and achieved many rewards from it.

Michael became an ambassador in championing social work since it helps different people gain or meet their basic needs and improve wellbeing. The further research was to empower people and orient them to become enlightened and fight for oppression due to racism, discrimination, and poverty.

Birdie Henrietta Haynes was a black social welfare pioneer and was born in 1886 and died in 1922. She undertook his education career at Chicago, School of Civic and philanthropy, and broke this first black person’s record to graduate. Being the first black to become educated, joined leadership to address the issues of the black people and fight for justice. The following are ways she positively contributed to social work and justice. She was elected as the head worker at two positions of the most famous social settlements for blacks in Chicago and New York.

The most remarkable event she did was fighting for racism and segregation, in which she placed strict limitations through her social work career. This reason was the point where black people were seen for equal opportunities as the white at all angles of work. More so, this was a team spirit for gaining power and creating awareness to the blacks that they can have a fair share in all social lives no matter the case, and they can do more than what their color displays. Haynes was the strongest woman who interacted, participated, and advocated for the power of women and gained access to the most famous social welfare reforms of the successive era.

A caste system is a man-made construct, fixed, and embedded ranking of human importance that pits one group’s presumed superiority against another’s presumed inferiority based on ancestry and often immutable traits, traits that would be meaningless in the abstract but are given life-or-death values in a hierarchy favored by the dominant caste, whose forefathers designed it. A caste system employs rigorous, often arbitrary borders to keep the ranks apart, distinct from one another, and in their designated places (Wilkerson, 2020). There have been three types of caste systems that stand out in human history, lingering (millenniums-long) of India, tragically boosted, chilling, and formally defeated caste system of Nazi Germany. Finally, the race-based, unacknowledged, and shape lifting of the United States.

This system stated many issues which affected the gender balance and the race of many people. For example, India’s caste system had several problems in existence that affected women in society, deliberate problems at the community level, rising economic inequality, hunger, and many more challenges. This led to the rise of social work professionals who fought to better up the state of life at the community level. The main objective of social work is to promote or restore an equivalent significant interaction among individuals and society to improve the quality of life for everyone (Brenda et al., 2007)

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Caste was a great obstacle to social work since it comes from a Latin word which means lineage; hence specific people benefited while others could suffer since they were outside the circle. But due to this pressure and the problem of its existence led to the rise of different pioneers who fought for social justice for both the black people and women in the society. The role of caste was to enlighten many social work professionals who stood up and fought for social justice for many marginalized people in society. It built a great impact around the globe and brought about the uniformity of the people in enjoying human rights.

In conclusion, Social work is a profession dedicated to social transformation. Still, when the social structure is impacted by caste-based structure, it becomes a significant barrier to social welfare and the constitution’s essential principles of liberty, equality, justice, and fraternity. The named pioneers greatly marked and improved social work, which in the end led to social justice. This liberty has significantly balanced human rights. Hence social welfare has been protected at all dimensions.


Ornellas, A., Spolander, G., & Engelbrecht, L. K. (2018). The global social work definition: Ontology, implications and challenges. Journal of Social Work18(2), 222-240.

Hutchings, A., & Taylor, I. (2007). Defining the profession? Exploring an international definition of social work in the China context. International Journal of Social Welfare16(4), 382-390.

Rollins, W. (2020). Social worker-client relationships: Social worker perspectives. Australian Social Work73(4), 395-407.

Wilkerson, I. (2020). America’s enduring caste system. The New York Times Magazine, 26-33.

Dubois, Brenda L., Miley, Kerla K. (2007). Social Work A helping Profession: Social Work An

Empowering Profession, Boston: Allyn and Bacon

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