Celebrating Black Leaders in Child and Family Welfare

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the stories of African Americans who have brought about incredible advancements throughout history. This month at One Hope United, we are highlighting Black leaders who dedicated their careers to Child and Family Welfare.


Carter Godwin Woodson

Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week, which was the brainchild of noted historian, author and journalist, Carter Godwin Woodson. While studying at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, Woodson noted that the teaching of American history largely ignored African Americans. He dedicated his life to educating the public about the achievements and contributions of African Americans, and because of his work, we celebrate the central role African Americans have played in American history every February. He chose February because the month contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent men whose historic achievements African Americans already celebrated.

Source: History.com


Thyra Edwards

Thyra J. Edwards, born in 1897, the granddaughter of runaway slaves, grew up in Houston, Texas and started her career there as a school teacher. Edwards would eventually become a world lecturer, journalist, labor organizer, women’s rights advocate, and civil rights activist all before her 40th birthday. After World War II ended, she opened the first child care program in Rome, to serve survivors of the Holocaust.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University



Fanny Jackson Coppin

Fanny Jackson Coppin was a teacher, principal, lecturer, and missionary to Africa. She was born a slave, but fervently pursued education and felt her purpose in life was to provide educational opportunities for Black youth. She taught evening classes for freedmen while earning her degree at Oberlin College, and eventually became the first Black school principal in the United States. She once said, “It was in me… to get an education and to teach my people. This idea was deep in my soul.”

Source: Coppin State University



Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund, and lobbied Congress to increase resources for adoption, change the foster care system, and support children in need.

Source: Children’s Defense Fund


Janie Porter Barrett

Janie Porter Barrett founded the Locust Street Social Settlement to educate African American youth in 1890. In 1915, she founded the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls to help young women become self-reliant, educated, and prepared for employment. She is best known for her work to rehabilitate young African American women who had been imprisoned.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University



Even in the face of the challenges we face as a country in this moment, there is hope. These trailblazing leaders paved the way for our Case Managers, Social Workers, Therapists, Teachers, and all those at One Hope United who work endlessly to ensure the wellbeing of the children, youth and families we serve. We are grateful for their legacy of leadership.



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