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Franklin Frazier and Social Work, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Franklin Frazier was a son to a bank messenger born on 24th September, 1894 at Baltimore, Maryland. The Colored High School awarded Frazier the school’s annual scholarship to Howard University upon his graduation (Teele, 2002, p.78). Frazier was a successful scholar pursuing German, Greek, Latin, and Mathematics. He also participated in extracurricular activities such as drama, the National Association for the Advancement Colored People, political science and the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. After his graduation from the University, Frazier started his teaching career where he taught at Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and Maryland. He published God and War, an anti-war pamphlet during this time.

Frazier was given the position of research fellow in 1920 at the Social Work, New York School. He travelled on an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship from 1921 to 1922, and on his return, he got a position at Atlanta, Georgia- Morehouse College. This position allowed Frazier to combine sociology teaching with the Atlanta Social Work School direction. During the Morehouse tenure, Frazier started writing about the Negro family. He wrote a controversial publication- June 1927, “The Pathology of Race Prejudice” in Forum, which forced him out of Morehouse. Frazier afterwards received a University of Chicago fellowship where he started pursuing a doctoral program in the year 1927. During his study at Chicago, Frazier received the sociology doctoral degree in 1931 where he became socialized into the later ‘Chicago School of Sociology. Frazier’s doctoral dissertation, The Negro Family in Chicago, was a later publication.

While a doctoral student, at Chicago University, Frazier taught at Fisk University between 1929 and 1931 as he worked on his dissertation. He continued teaching at Fisk University afterwards until 1934 and became the Howard University Department Director of Sociology. He was an extremely active Director up to 1959 when he shifted to become the Sociology Department and African Studies Program Emeritus Professor. In 1948, Frazier became the President of the American Sociological Association and received, for his contributions in the sociology field, the Association’s MacIver Award. He was an excellent writer who produced nine books, which were published in various editions and translations. He also wrote one hundred essays and articles.

Frazier served with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization between 1951 and 1953 where he travelled to Africa, Paris, and the Middle East. He continued to write focusing on the struggle of African people and African descent on religion and for equality during this period. The last book by Frazier, The Negro Church in America became published in 1964 after his death. Edward Frazier died in 1962, May 17. Top African Americans have raked Frazier because of his influence on practices and institutions to accept African American demands for political, economic and social equality.

The main issues which Frazier addressed included politics, Christianity and race in America at a time when there was prejudice, based on such orientations. He termed a “nation within a nation” the Black Church because there had been enormous distance between the white and black Christians. The Black Church was one in conflict with the white society, the dominant, and full of racist practices and exclusionary institutions. The work of Frazier landed him in conflict with the whites and some other blacks, as well. He worked hard to change circumstances and bring racist practices into the light for the African American population in the US.

Description of Problems Addressed

Frazier touched on policies aiming to end racial prejudice as racism was at its peak during his time. Racism was the main issue that brought differences between the black and the white. Frazier identified social, and personality problems from juvenile delinquency to warped vanity to school failure. According to Frazier, slavery caused interference with the fundamental facts of sexuality, gender and family economy (Chapman, 2012, p.162). Women had a natural inclination to long-lasting emotional and monogamous bonds. Male sexuality was terribly undiscriminating and naturally wild. Stable marriages’ purpose was to entertain men to enable women accomplish necessary reproduction feats and childbearing. This was so because they received support and protection from dependable breadwinners, their husbands. However, incentives were necessary since becoming dependable breadwinners conflicted with the male nature. Frazier was able to identify the necessary incentives the economic relations of the capitalist. He argued that it was possible to ensure patriarchal black families through economic guarantee. This entailed the black men becoming free like the white men in accumulating wealth, functioning within the marketplace and selling labor power. Frazier thus saw some sense for the black in the capitalist patriarchy although he criticized at other times where he advocated for socialist and nationalist alternatives. Frazier in his writings was addressing policy changes that had brought inequality among the Americans and especially those that discriminated against the blacks. For instance, the Jim Crow laws that passed in the South around 1880s and 1890s. These included laws supporting racial segregation where facilities for the white and the blacks were separate but equal. In practice, the facilities were not equal because they could not be in same conditions (Teele, 2002, p.103). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored people in the 1930s helped in changing these laws.

Frazier’s work covered much about the black Americans. He wrote much about the Negro populations. For example, he wrote on ‘The Free Negro Family’, ‘The Negro Family in Chicago’, ‘The Negro Family in the United States’ and ‘The Negro Youth at the Crossways’ amongst others. Frazier’s research work was on the assumption that it was a fundamental right for the black Americans to participate fully in American Democracy. He also used criticism on racism arguing for biological determinism while explaining the blacks’ low achievement. The Negro Family in the United States, his first work, examined the influence of social historical factors including white terror, slavery, social disruptions, and urban migration on the African American family health. He launched a crucial intellectual debate with Melville who was a pioneer researcher in African retentions, in black culture, when he argued that, without any traces of their African past, African Americans were culturally American (Chapman, 2012, p.175). The impact of Frazier’s work on populations at risk has been tremendous. There has been a marked change in the churches where we now have a mix up of races in the churches unlike in the past. There has been abandonment of segregation in terms of facilities in the institutions and both blacks and the whites now use the same facilities. There has been an awakening among blacks and now they participate fully in politics, business, and economic processes to change their lives (Lee, 2001, p.109). There has been an improvement on the consideration of equality among blacks and the white as well as in men and women.

Frazier addressed main issues including religious life, the black family, and race through his famous studies. In his work, he sought to help formulate values, which promoted a cultural self-determinism consciousness to guide the blacks in their aim of assimilation. Frazier’s achievements in social work are enormous. His landmark achievements in social work are in his writings as a leading American scholar and sociologist. He was able to draw attention and concern to the plights of the black Americans resulting in increased agitation by others for equal rights. He was able to write on the blacks, for example, works such as “The Negro Church in America”, “The Integration of the Negro into American Society”, “The Free Negro Family”, and “Black Bourgeoisie” amongst others. Frazier studied extensively on family life being supported by Guggenheim Fellowship in Brazil in 1941. The following 20 years saw him focused much on the black colleges’ environment. He was one of the founding members of D.C. Sociological society, where he served as the President of DCSS between 1943 and 1944 (Lee, 2001, p.122). In 1944-45, he also served as then President of the Eastern Sociological Society.

References

Chapman, E., D. (2012). Prove It On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s. New York, NY:  Oxford University Press.

Lee,  A., B., J. (2001). The Empowerment Approach to Social Work Practice: Building the Beloved Community. [Edition2].  New York, NY:  Columbia University Press.

Teele,  E., J. (2002).  Franklin Frazier and Black Bourgeoisie. Lemone Industrial Boulevard Columbia:  University of Missouri Press.

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