The Profession’s Role in Meeting its Historical Mission to Serve Vulnerable Populations


  • Dorcas Davis Bowles Kennesaw State University
  • June Gary Hopps Boston College School of Social Work



Professional mission, CSWE standards, civil rights era, poverty, race, injustice, social work theories, women, people of color, sexual orientation and gender expression


This article provides an historical account of how the profession of social work met or failed to meet its mission in the provision of services to those who were poor, oppressed, and vulnerable to societal injustices from the mid-twentieth century, including the turbulent Civil Rights Era, to the early twenty-first century. The profession’s growth and expansion and the challenge of mediating resistance to change are highlighted based on eyewitness accounts.

Author Biographies

Dorcas Davis Bowles, Kennesaw State University

Ed.D., MSW Distinguished Scholar of Social Work at Kennesaw State University

June Gary Hopps, Boston College School of Social Work

Ph.D., MSW The Thomas “Jim” Parham Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Georgia and Dean and Professor Emerita Boston College School of Social Work