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School of Social Work Growing Together As Allies

The Strengths of Black Families

Session 3: November 16, 2021, 4:30-6:30pm

Denise McLane-Davison


Session Description: The political era of the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, and The Black Power Movement demanded the inclusion of rigorous research that centered racial and gender identity as significant narratives. The emergence of Black Studies and Women’s Studies, along with student-led and national organizations incorporating the same identity politics also demanded inclusion in intellectual landscapes. During this era Black social scientists blanketed the scholarship, theory, and treatment research that anchored African cultural values, traditions, knowledge, and generational behaviors as disruptive characteristics of pathologized Black family rhetoric. Collectively, cultural scholarship named the impact of adapting Black life to oppression and anti-Blackness policy. They declared the Black family as the fundamental source of strength of the Black community and as the defense for Black life from external threats. This session provides a historical and contemporary alignment on the Black strength perspective through racial pride, resistance, and resilience.

Denise McLane-Davison

Dr. Denise McLane-Davison, associate professor of social work, at Morgan State University, utilizes Black Feminist/Womanist/Africana (BFWA) epistemologies to center the restoration of human dignity and worth. Dr. McLane-Davison’s research disrupts systems of structural oppression, while focusing on innovative strategies towards transformation, reconciliation, and liberation. Dr. McLane-Davison is a visual storyteller utilizing cultural memory intentional centering of African diasporic history and culture in the digital humanities genre to provide an interdisciplinary and intergenerational knowledge bank for public and academic scholars through her training in Black Digital Humanities (BDH)and Black Spatial Humanities. She is the founding researcher and archivist of the National Association of Black Social Workers, Inc. (NABSW) National Repository at Morgan State University and the recipient of The HistoryMakers, Inc. 2020 National Digital Humanities Award, as well as the 2020 Faculty Women of Color in The Academy Zenobia L. Hikes Teaching-Research National Award Winner, and a newly appointed member of the Commission on Research, Council on Social Work Education.

Denise McLane-Davison Publications

Ortega-Williams, A. & McLane-Davison, D. (in press). Wringing out the “Whitewash”: Confronting the hegemonic epistemologies of social work canons (disrupting the reproduction of white normative). Advances in Social Work.

Brice, T. S., & McLane-Davison, D. (2020). The strength of black families: The elusive ties of perspective and praxis in social work education. In A. M. Mendenhall and M. M. Carney, Rooted in strengths: Celebrating the strengths perspective in social work. University of Kansas Libraries. 

Wilson, D. B., Solomon, T. A., & McLane-Davison, D. (2020). Ethics and racial equity in social welfare policy: Social work's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social Work in Public Health, 35(7), 617-632.

Doin' the Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change. (2021, February 21). Black Power, Black Liberation & Social Work: Back to the Beginning of the National Association of Black Social Workers, Episode 38.

McLane-Davison, D., Allen-Milton, S., Archibald, P., & Holmes, R. (2019). Of common bonds: Accounting for intergenerational culture competency in community policing. Race and Justice, 9(1), 8-21.  MU Affiliates

McLane-Davison, D. R., Quinn, C. R., Hardy, K., & Smith, R. L. (2018). The power of sum: An accountability sistah circle. Journal of Social Work Education, 54(1), 18-32.  MU Affiliates

McLane-Davison, D. (2017). Emancipatory engagement: An urban womanist social work pedagogy. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 27(5), 474-486. MU Affiliates

McLane-Davison, D. (2016). Lifting: Black feminist leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Affilia, 31(1), 55-69.

Simmons, C. A., Weiss, E. L., Schwartz, S. L., & McLane-Davison, D. (2020). Job satisfaction: A positive attribute of work-family integration for female social work faculty. Social Work Education, 1-17.  MU Affiliates