School of Social Work Celebrates Black History Month


Baton Rouge - During Black History Month, we highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black and African American citizens to our nation. We recognize that shining this spotlight is both appropriate and necessary as Black citizens have for too long been invisible, marginalized, and silenced in America.

Even after slavery ended in the mid-nineteenth century, generations of racist laws and practices (i.e., Jim Crow) segregated Black Americans to neighborhoods with meager resources, denying them the same educational, housing, economic, health, and social privileges enjoyed by Whites. These past laws and practices still negatively affect Black Americans today, in various spheres. The Economic Policy Institute found Black Americans earn 73 cents for every dollar made by White Americans and experience poverty at a rate 2.5 times higher than Whites do. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Americans make up 13.4% of the population but comprise 23% of COVID-19 deaths. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) revealed African Americans are incarcerated 5x the rate of Whites, the imprisonment rate for African American women is 2x that of White women, and nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children arrested, 42% of children detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court. These numbers are especially disheartening when we consider African American children represent 14% of the population. These disparate realities make it hard for Black Americans to attain the American Dream, yet in spite of hardships that have spanned decades, Black Americans have consistently offered intellectual gifts to our world, paving the way for those behind them to continue to do great work. We strongly urge you to learn their stories and contributions (and encourage others to do the same) because the accomplishments of these Black and African American people are truly innovative, remarkable, and significant.

The LSU School of Social Work (SSW) is committed to ending the educational, political, social, economic, and health disparities that disproportionately affect Black Americans. As we work toward creating a racially equitable society, it is fittingly appropriate that we honor the history and accomplishments of Black Americans, both past and present. Join us as we work to create a nation in which every person is taught that Black History is American History.

Pamela A. Monroe, PhD
Director and Lois Canulette & W.A. “Buster” Baker Alumni Professor
Fellow, National Council on Family Relations

Cassandra D. Chaney, PhD
J. Franklin Bayhi Endowed Professor

Resources for Black History Month