California Social Work Hall of Distinction: A Force for Positive Social Change

Oral Histories: Preserving the Past for the Future

The CSWA Oral History Collection contains interviews with persons important in the history of social work in Southern California and in the nation. They offer insight and understanding of contemporary societal issues, and potential solutions through their personal experience in the profession. The earliest interviews were audio only, and video interviews were instituted in 2005.

Examples of interviewees in the collection, include Carmelita White, the first African-American graduate of the USC School of Social Work in 1932; George Nickel, one of the leaders in the advancement of social welfare in California and the founder of the CSWA, from his entrance into the profession during the Great Depression until his death (1990); and Charles Schottland, Social Security Commissioner during the Eisenhower administration and head of the U.S. Children's Bureau.

Selections from a few oral interviews of California Social Work Hall of Distinction members are featured in this exhibit, describing navigating the social work profession while facing political, social and economic barriers, advocating for children and other underserved populations, influencing and promoting legislation and policy changes, conducting research, and working to increase diversity in social work. 

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