Political Advocacy Without a Choice: Highlighting African American Political Social Workers (2 credit hours)

Participants who complete this course will receive 2 continuing education clock hours. 1 of these clock hours is Ethics and 1 of these clock hours is Social and Cultural Competence.

Program Summary:   This course highlights the political action and leadership of early African American social workers and their work challenging discrimination and injustice while advocating for systemic change.  Authors Donisha Shepherd and Suzanne Pritzer offer a social work history that moves beyond Jane Addams’ Hull House and includes the important and sometimes overlooked contributions of social workers like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Victoria Earle Matthews, Thyra Edwards, Lester Blackwell Granger, and more.  The course uses Lane and Pritzker’s five domains of political social work practice as a framework for understanding the different domains of political advocacy.  The course also includes the NASW 2021 Blueprint of Federal and Social Policy Priorities, which outlines current policy priorities and solutions for national leaders.  Priorities such as high quality healthcare for all, ending homelessness, eliminating racism, reforming immigration policy, and advancing political justice are given.

This course is recommended for social workers and is appropriate for beginning and intermediate levels of practice.  This course is not recommended for NBCC ethics credit.

The NASW Code of Ethics offers six ethical standards “relevant to the professional activities of all social workers,” including social  workers’ ethical responsibilities to the broader society.   Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully.  Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice (NASW Code of Ethics, 2017).

“Book  Open the First Course Reading Here.

First Course Reading:  Political Advocacy Without a Choice:  Highlighting African American Political Social Workers

Authors:  Donisha Shepherd and Suzanne Pritzker

Publisher:  Advances in Social Work

“Book  Open the Second Course Reading Here.

Second Course Reading:  The NASW 2021 Blueprint of Federal and Social Policy Priorities

Publisher:  NASW

Course Objectives:  To enhance professional practice, values, skills and knowledge by highlighting the early political work and advocacy of African American social workers and current NASW policy priorities.

Learning Objectives:  Describe the often overlooked political work and advocacy of early African American social workers.  Describe the social work profession’s ethical responsibility to the broader society and social justice. Identify Lane and Pritzker’s five domains of political social work practice.  Provide examples of current NASW policy priorities and solutions.

Review our pre-reading study guide.

Course Available Until: June 30, 2026.

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1: For questions 1-12, please refer to https://www.freestatesocialwork.com/articles/PoliticalAdvocacyWithoutaChoice.pdf.  Social work education has historically ______________ the early work of many African American social workers who engaged in 'political social work.'
2: The National Association of Social Work's (2017) Code of Ethics calls on ______________ to engage in political action, expand choice and opportunity, promote policies that protect the rights of all people, and confirm equity and social justice for all.
3: Which of the following describes Domain 5 of Lane and Pritzker's Domains of Political Social Work Practice?
4: Social work education and retellings of the profession's early history tend to focus on settlement houses like
5: This social worker created a settlement house for Black men in Chicago and authored anti-lynching pamphlets.
6: This social worker was Brooklyn, New York's first African American social worker and founded the White Rose Mission in New York, a Black Settlement house.
7: This social worker was the first African American president of the National Conference of Social Work and has been described as the individual responsible for leading the social work profession to prioritize civil rights.
8: This social worker created the first-ever social work training center for African American graduate students at Fisk University in Nashville, TN and offered field placement opportunities through NUL.
9: This social worker became a member of the Republican Party and president of the Women's Republican league.  She served on the Washington DC Board of Education from 1895-1901 and from 1906-1911.
10: This social worker founded the Congressional Social Work Caucus to create a space within Congress for members of Congress who are social workers or who explicitly support the social work profession to engage and connect.
O’Donnell (2001) juxtaposed the activism of early African American female social workers and early white social workers, suggesting that African American social workers engaged in activism
Early African American social workers were political leaders.  These social workers
For questions 13-15, please refer to https://www.socialworkers.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=KPdZqqY60t4%3d&portalid=0.  The NASW 2021 Blueprint of Federal Social Policy Priorities outlines policy solutions in _________ issue areas.
Examples of NASW policy priorities include
15: Social workers have a long history of helping to promote policy solutions to challenging societal problems.

In order to purchase or take this course, you will need to log in. If you do not have an account, you will need to register for a free account.

After you log in, a link will appear here that will allow you to purchase this course.


Free State Social Work, LLC, provider #1235, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 9/6/2021 - 9/6/2024. Social Workers completing in this course will receive 1 Cultural Competence continuing education credit and 1 Ethics continuing education credit.

Free State Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP NO. 6605. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Free State Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

G.M. Rydberg-Cox, MSW, LSCSW is the Continuing Education Director at Free State Social Work and responsible for the development of this course.  She received her Masters of Social Work in 1996 from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and she has over 20 years of experience.  She has lived and worked as a social worker in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City. She has practiced for many years in the area of hospital/medical social work.  The reading materials for this course were developed by another organization.