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NABSW Pioneers
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In  1978, ten years after the development of NABSW, the annual conference convened in San Francisco, the city where the initial group of Black social workers walked out of the National Conference on Social Welfare, gathered at Glide Memorial Church and pledged to start an organization that reflected an understanding of the unique issues faced by African Americans in the social service arena, both those providing and receiving services. At a ceremony at Glide Memorial, President Howard Brabson presented certificates to over 100 NABSW members who had remained active with the organization since its inception.  The full list of pioneers may never be known, however, the list below reflects the names we are currently aware of and we will be relying on those we know to fill in the blanks until the full list of loyal members has been completed.


It was a desire of the Founders and Pioneers that NABSW would convene every 10 years, in San Francisco for its annual conference, however, beginning in 1998, the costs for hosting a conference in San Francisco became too expensive, making 1988 the last year an annual conference was held in San Francisco.  However, in January 2008, a Steering Committee meeting was held in Oakland, CA. On January 10, 2008, this SCM culminated in a moving and emotional ceremony held at Glide Memorial, commemorating NABSW's 1968 beginning.


Glide Memorial continues to be a stalwart advocate and supporter of social justice and social change in the San Francisco community with Co-Founders’ Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani who remain at GLIDE today with a mission to create meaningful change  in this world. Their partnership welcomed NABSW's Founders and Pioneers and transformed a church into a social movement of service and spirit powered by unconditional love and acceptance.



Barbara Akins

*EC Bell

Joe Benton

Sharon Y. Bomar

James Craigen

*Gladys Dunston

Leonard Dunston

*Judith Jackson

Rosa Lee

Patricia Jenkins Lewis

Sandra Mitchell

Maragret Penn

*Dr. Fredrick E. Smith

Gail Smith

Rudolph Smith

Zelma Smith

Roger Swift

Alice Thompson

Ruth Vaughn


*Denotes Ancestor


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