Righteous Self Determination

On a day when there was civil unrest, and organizations gathered around Chicago in protest over the lack of funding for education and critical social services, a different form of protest took place.

Dr. Patricia Reid-Merritt, an author, educator, scholar and a performing artist, visited the Carruthers  Center for Inner City Studies, NEIU’s Southside Campus, to lecture and sign copies of her new book “Righteous Self Determination: The Black Social Work Movement in America.”

Reid-Merritt spoke about the importance of looking at the history of social services so that people understand the need for public education and funding, and understanding how those services are disseminated. For example, Governor Rauner vetoing funding for MAP grants, and the need for more black social workers to serve in their communities where black lives still matter.

The book expands on what social services looked like in America for African Americans from a historical standpoint and argues that the commitment to black people should not be forgotten. She quotes the 1968 National Association of Negro Social Work saying “the African American needed to be liberated and not just adjusted.”

Reid-Merritt is the bestselling author of “Sister Power: How Phenomenal Black Women Are Rising to the Top,” and “Sister Wisdom: Seven Pathways to a Satisfying Life for Soulful Black Women.” She also regularly contributes to scholarly journals and magazines and is the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the NAACP Freedom Award; the Cabrini College Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; the Temple University General Alumni Society Certificate of Honor; the Richard Stockton College’s Council of Black Faculty and Staff Annual Achievement Award; and the National Council for Black Studies Presidential Award (2002).

Reid-Merritt grew up in Philadelphia where she studied at the Sydney King School of Dance, The Eakins Arts Center and Cabrini College. She also received her Doctorate of Social Work in Race, Law and Social Policy from the University of Philadelphia. She currently teaches social work and is the program coordinator of Africana studies at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J.