Reflections on the American Social Welfare State: The Collected Papers of James R. Dumpson, PhD, 1930–1990 presents an insightful overview of American social welfare developments over a critical 50-year period, when social welfare policy was expanded to new heights through New Deal and civil rights legislation followed by conservative attacks on the foundation of these progressive policy reforms. Professor Alma J. Carten describes and critically assesses these developments, drawing upon scholarly accounts of social welfare history, her personal experience as a social policy analyst, and a careful examination of the papers of Dr. James R. Dumpson, one of the nation's most prominent African American social work policy advocates. Professor Carten presents a unique social policy narrative resulting from a combination of objective social welfare policy history intertwined with her subjective biographical account of Dumpson, who influenced much of that history. The resulting hybrid makes for informative and engaging reading.
Professor Carten quotes extensively from the Dumpson papers to illustrate his philosophical approach to social welfare policy development, his wide-ranging contributions in shaping government programs for the poor, and influence on the social work profession and education. The issues addressed in the papers range from global topics such as the role of social welfare in modern society to health and human services administration, social planning in times of economic uncertainty, the nature of racism, education for effective social welfare and administrative practices, and the central role of social work in advancing the democratic goals of American society.
Dr. Dumpson is one of many social work pioneers, past and present, who have made and are continuing to make considerable contributions to the field, and yet many of their stories remain untold. The book closes this gap in literature and is an important resource for students studying the history of social work and public policy, and for educators and practitioners in the field of health and human services.
Jim [Dumpson] valued reason, compassion, and all that the idea of humanity implies... Jim most valued social justice, equality, economic and social security for all; social inclusion, integration, and equality of racial and ethnic groups; human rights and the worth and dignity of all people; solidarity; and self-determination. He thought that social work could play a pivotal role in helping to bring about a caring society.
Edward J. Mullen, PhD
Willma and Albert Musher Professor Emeritus of Social Work
Columbia University School of Social Work