National Association of Black Social Workers’ President to Highlight African History at SC State

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SC State University’s Social Work Program will feature an African-American Scholar Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 at 1 p.m. in the John W. Matthews Jr. 1890 Extension Center Auditorium.

This year’s theme is: “Elements of Success: Strategies for Emerging African-American Social Workers.”  The event will focus on the historic development of the Black social work movement and the link to African history, culture and thought. Additionally, it will highlight the return of the African culture and the implication for Black social work.

The guest speaker of the event will be Joe Benton, president of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW). In April 2010, Benton was elected the 11th president of NABSW during the national conference in Philadelphia, Pa. and was inaugurated in July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Benton has been working with people in various ways since 1965. During those years, he has conceptualized, planned, organized and implemented human services programs with an emphasis on youth.  Benton served as director of the Youth Development Bureau of Health and Human Services under former President Jimmy Carter.  Benton also served as the immediate past board president of the Communities in Schools of the Midlands and past president of the South Carolina State Employees Association.  Prior to retirement, Benton was the special assistant for Faith Initiatives, working primarily with the AME Church.  For more than 10 years, he served as the Richland County Director of Juvenile Justice and the assistant commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice in South Carolina. 

Although retired, Benton dedicates his time and expertise serving as interim executive of the South Carolina State Employees Association. He also serves on the Working Assembly of Governmental Employees Board. Benton earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. 

Benton is married and has a son, daughter and two grandchildren. 

For more information on the African-American Scholar Lecture, contact Marie Artis, interim coordinator of SC State’s Social Work Program, at (803) 536-8802.