Initial Meetings of the Association

As indicated on the "Home" page of the  website, the Association's of Social and Behavioral Scientists (ASBS) was founded in 1935 by Theophilus E. McKinney, Dean of Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two meetings organized a group of social science teachers in Negro colleges with plans for the continuation of annual meetings.  Johnson C. Smith College hosted these organizational meetings with the first being held on October 2, 1935.  The second meeting was originally scheduled for October 31, 1936, but postponed until April 24, 1937.  McKinney recorded and published minutes of these and subsequent meetings in the Quarterly Review of Higher Education Among NegroesThe Statement of Purpose, developed and provided by him, for the first meeting is as follows:


"There are many economic, social, and political problems which the Negro faces in America that are different from those experienced  by  other groups. Many of our colleges are just beginning to recognize and face this fact frankly. We have made no serious effort in  the  past to think through these problems from the point of view of the background and experiences of Negroes. We turn out year  after  year, hundreds of graduates who have acquired knowledge but no real genuine philosophy or point of view that will help them  in  adjusting themselves in a society that does regard them as human beings. This has led to much confused and muddled thinking,  to in  difference and stupid reactions to some of these problems. Little headway is being made toward their solution. The  responsibility for fermenting new ideas, conducting research, conducting research and pointing the way to a solution of these  problems, rest with the  social science divisions of our Negro colleges. To meet this responsibility, a renaissance in the social science  offerings and in the  organizations and methods of teaching the social sciences is imperative."

"Little critical thought heretofore has been given to the social science phase of the curriculum. The equipment and library facilities for  the  social sciences in our Negro colleges are very meager. There is a dearth of trained social science teachers– teachers who are  possessed of creative scholarship and a knowledge of scientific research. The administrative officers who are charged with the duty of  determining the curriculum frequently fail to appreciate the importance of the social sciences in the curriculum. In a recent study  made  by Mr. Percy Julian of Depauw University, it was found that the Negro Colleges spent for their Physical and Natural Science   Departments  for the school year 1934-35 over $150,000. To estimate that the Negro colleges spent one-tenth of this amount for   the Social Sciences would be indeed very liberal."

"There are evidences of increased interest in the Social Sciences. This is the first time that the Social Science teachers in the Negro  colleges have come together in a conference to discuss their common problems."

1. To study the weaknesses in the Social Science Offerings with the view of recommending improvements.

2. To determine upon a purpose, a point of view and guiding principles in the teaching of Social Sciences.

3. To think through some of the most difficult and perplexing problems confronting Negroes from the point of view of the Negroes  himself, with the view of working out satisfactory workable methods and plans for acquainting the students with and developing  within him a philosophy and an attitude that will enable him to confront the most baffling problems that he will face through life.

4. To suggest means for articulating the instructions in social science with the life, the activities, and the institutions of the surrounding  community.

5. To call attention to material and textbooks of value for instructional use in the social sciences.

6. To work out some means, if possible, whereby material may be selected.

In short, the purpose of this conference is to deliberate and suggest plans,

methods, and procedures leading toward the improvement of teaching

Social Science Offerings in Negro Colleges.


Agenda - The First Meeting   

Agenda - The Second Meeting    

About the Association