The project has compiled a list of some of the most significant events in American social welfare history.  It starts with the introduction of Africans as indentured servants for plantation owners in Virginia in 1619 and ending on August 22, 1996 when President William Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, ending public welfare as we knew it.


1600’s     1700’s     1800-1850     1851-1900  

1900-1950     1951-2000   

Dred Scott (1795-1858): The Slave Who Sued for Freedom from Bondage

Dred Scott was an enslaved person noted mainly for the unsuccessful lawsuit brought to free him from bondage. The Dred Scott decision, handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, codified that Black Americans could not be citizens, and thus had no standing to sue for their freedom from slavery.

1817: Galluadet University Founded

Gallaudet University for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing the first free U.S. school for the deaf is founded in Hartford, CT.  It was the first school for the advanced education of the deaf and hard of hearing, and is still the world’s only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.