NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Clark W. Blackburn
Clark W. Blackburn, executive director of the Family Service Association of America (FSAA), was instrumental in leading this national organization from rather defined roles as a voluntary social work organization into exploration of issues of mental health, family disorganization, and services to minority groups. He also led the FSAA to develop a competent research program.
Blackburn, born in South Carolina, received his bachelor's degree in 1932 from Yale and his master's in social administration from the School of Applied Social Science at Case Western Reserve University in 1935. For the first decade of his professional career, he worked in depression-oriented public and private agencies. First as a district assistant secretary for Associated Charities in Cleveland and then as supervisor of visitors for the Cuyahoga County Relief Administration in the same county. In 1937 he became field representative of the North Carolina State Board of Public Welfare. In 1939 Blackburn was the executive secretary of the United Family and Children's Society in New Jersey. In 1943 he became executive secretary of the Family Service Society in Connecticut, and in 1944 executive secretary of the Family Welfare Association in Minnesota. Blackburn held this position until the 1950s when he became the executive director of the national organization. He was also president of the Minnesota Welfare Conference from 1950 to 1952 and chairman of the Midwest Regional Conference in 1950. Blackburn was active in the American Association of Social Workers and later NASW.