Rockefeller Archive Center

Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports are created by recipients of research travel stipends and by many others who have conducted research at the RAC. The reports demonstrate the breadth of the RAC's archival holdings, particularly in the study of philanthropy and its effects. Read more about the history of philanthropy at Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
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The Early History of Racially Segregated, Southern Schools of Social Work, Requesting or Receiving Funds from the Rockefeller Philanthropies and the Responses of Social Work Educators to Racial Discrimination

January 1, 2000

The following report is an account of the largely untold early history of racially segregated Southern schools of social work prior to the 1964 Civil Right Act, and the responses of faculty to racial discrimination in their host universities. This report covers five schools of social work which sought to obtain or received their initial and/or sustaining funding from the philanthropies established by the Rockefeller family. Those schools were located in New Orleans, Atlanta, Chapel Hill (North Carolina), St. Louis, and Nashville. These philanthropies, along with the Russell Sage Foundation and the American Red Cross, were the major early funders of social work education programs in the United States from the early 1900s to the 1940s. This account is based on material obtained from the following sources at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC): the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial (LSRM); the General Education Board (GEB); the Rockefeller Foundation (RF); and the Russell Sage Foundation (RS). In addition, supplemental information has been drawn from the Social Welfare History Archives (SWHA) at the University of Minnesota as well as published material on the development of social work as a profession and an institutional history of a Southern university.

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