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Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway Shares E. Franklin Frazier’s Contributions to Social Work Education with Rutgers SSW Community
February 8, 2021

Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, presented “The Contributions of E. Franklin Frazier to Social Work Education” to an eager audience of more than 200 Rutgers School of Social Work students, alumni, faculty, and staff on Wednesday, February 3. President Holloway is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002). 

“By presenting Frazier’s contributions to social work, I hoped to shed a light on the depth of his impact on the trajectory of social work education,” said President Holloway. “Frazier’s resolve to work towards racial equality made a lasting mark on the field of social work, reminding us that this vital profession has always been rooted in the longstanding fight for social justice.”

An American sociologist and author, E. Franklin Frazier is noted for influence on institutions and practices to accept the demands by African Americans for economic, political, and social equality in American life. His publication, The Negro Family in the United States (1939), analyzed the historical forces that shaped the development of the African American family from slavery to the mid-1930s. In 1940, the book was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for the most significant work in the field of race relations.

“We are grateful to President Holloway for bringing our attention to this important figure whose impact has historically been forgotten,” said Rutgers School of Social Work Dean and Distinguished Professor Cathryn C. Potter. “Frazier’s significance as a pioneer in social work education cannot be overstated, especially as we continue to grapple with our country’s history rooted in racism and injustice.”

LaVerne E. Austin, a 1992 graduate of Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program who attended the event, explained, “It was the best of three online presentations on race relations that I’ve attended with the School of Social Work. I appreciated learning about Frazier’s impact on the field and the historical context of his biography. As a systematic thinker, context is supremely important to me and how I deliver services. I may be biased, but I still hold that context must be included with an assessment of any subject.”

President Holloway, a U.S. historian, took office as the 21st president of Rutgers on July 1, 2020. He also serves as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor. Prior to accepting the presidency of Rutgers, Dr. Holloway was provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the faculty of Yale University from 1999 to 2017.  At Yale, he served as Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies.

He is also the author of The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership and coedited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the Twentieth Century. He wrote the introduction for the 2015 edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk, and is working on a new book, A History of Absence: Race and the Making of the Modern World.

President Holloway serves on boards of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Academic Leadership Institute. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Organization of American Historians and the boards of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois Humanities, the National Humanities Alliance, and the Society for United States Intellectual History. In April 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy appointed him to the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission, and in May 2020, New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin appointed him to his Economic Advisory Council.

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