Home | Site Map | Contact Us
Social Work Portal | Search Help
About NASW
Professional Devlopment
Press Room
Connect with Facebook NASW on Twitter LinkedIn Subscribe to RSS Feeds NASW on YouTube

Sara A. Collins Fernandis

Thyra J. Edwards

Whitney M. Young, Jr.

Advertise With NASW
Contact Us
Privacy Statement
Printable Version
Bookmark and Share


Whitney M. Young, Jr. (1921-1971)

Whitney Moore Young, Jr. served in a segregated U.S. Army company in Europe during World War II, where he acted as go-between for white officers and African American enlisted men. He later referred to this experience as the inspiration for his later career as an expert in race relations. With a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota, Young worked for the Urban League of St. Paul and later rose to become executive secretary at the branch in Omaha., Nebraska. At age 33, he was named dean of Atlanta University’s School of Social Work, where he acquired a formidable reputation as a skilled and determined administrator and fundraiser.

In 1961, Young took his talents to the National Urban League as its executive director. During his ten year tenure, he successfully secured jobs and training for African-Americans in areas traditionally closed to them. "Selective Placement" was the name he gave to this pioneering employment program that was responsible for moving African-American professionals into well-paid white collar jobs in major businesses and industries. He was an advisor on race relations to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon and his innovative “Marshall Plan” was considered a major inspiration for the “War on Poverty” of the Johnson Administration.

Young served as president of the NASW from 1969 until his death in 1971and is considered one of the principle pioneers in community organization and advocacy for oppressed people. Equally important, he pioneered the development of social work in industrial settings with both union and management.

Back To NASW Diversity


Click here to read excerpts from the book Spirituality and the Black Helping Tradition in Social Work.

Health and Social Work Journal
African American Gerontology Network
pdf format

African American Leadership:
Empowerment Tradition in Social Welfare History

Social Work and the Black Experience

Top of Page | Print This Page | Contact Us | Privacy Statement