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Spirituality and the Black Helping Tradition in Social Work

Elmer P. Martin and Joanne M. Martin

ISBN: 978-0-87101-322-4. 2003. Item #3223. 240 pages.



In the black helping tradition, spirituality is the sense of the sacred and divine. It is a critical value deeply rooted in the African worldview and used by African Americans as a tool for survival. Provocative and well-written, Spirituality and the Black Helping Tradition in Social Work is the first book to draw a relationship between social work, spirituality, and the helping tradition among African Americans. Offering a wealth of historical detail and narrative, Elmer and Joanne Martin explore spirituality as a foundation for understanding people of African descent and as a skill to evoke self-help. This groundbreaking book raises compelling questions about the limitations and strengths of mainstream social work in issues of black spirituality and its role in strengthening the black community today.

Special Features

  • Examines the interaction between African and African American spirituality, African American social workers, and race work.
  • Chronicles the stories of early black caregivers and social workers who recognized the significance of spirituality and incorporated it into their work.
  • Investigates the extent to which social workers today are equipped to use spirituality to empower black individuals, families, and communities.