NABSW was created during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement on May 8, 1968 in SanFrancisco, California by a group of Black Social Workers who were convened for the meeting of an established national social work organization. They disengaged from that meeting to form what has ultimately become the foremost advocacy group established to address social issues and concerns of the Black community.
Before May 8, 1968, under various names, several social work related groups of African ancestry had been addressing issues of racism and poverty in America. Their common goal was Black liberation, and improved social work practice and service delivery. They recognized the need for educational institutions to revamp curricula, and to demonstrate concern, appreciation, and understanding of all races and ethnic groups reflected in the social welfare service arena.
This coalition of human service practitioners of African ancestry brought together various disciplines, both degreed and non-degreed. They came together to form the National Association of Black Social Workers, Inc. For the first time, people of African ancestry had an opportunity to unify in combating racism and white supremacy in the social welfare system. The new organization immediately articulated demands for change within the existing welfare structure, and at the same time placed emphasis upon expanding and strengthening the NABSW network through local chapter development. The years 1968 and 1969 saw demands for change made upon traditional local and national Eurocentric focused human services and social welfare systems.