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Lindsey, Inabel Burns

in: People

Inabel Burns Lindsey (1916-1983): Social Worker, Professor and First Dean of the Howard University School of Social Work


Inabel Lindsey was born in St. Joseph, Missouri and she prepared for a teaching career. After receiving her undergraduate degree. she entered the New York School of Social Work as an Urban League Fellow from 1920 to 1921. Sixteen years later she completed a master’s degree at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.

Dr. Inabel Lindsey
Dr. Inabel Lindsey
Photo: NASW Foundation

In 1952, Lindsay earned a doctorate in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught a few years before beginning her social work experiences as a family welfare practitioner, agency administrator. and social researcher. In 1937, Lindsay joined the Department of Sociology at Howard as an instructor and assistant in charge of social work under E. Franklin Frazier. In 1945, a School of Social Work was established at Howard, and Lindsay became dean. When she retired in 1967. Lindsay was the only female university academic dean in the Washington, D.C., area. Committed to principles of social justice, she maintained a strong role in professional leadership while promoting the growth of the School of Social Work. Under Lindsay’s leadership, the Howard University School of Social Work became the second accredited school in the country serving black students. She published a number of survey papers and articles on community leadership, the elderly, and black participation in social welfare.

SourceNASW Foundation

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Hansan, J. (2011). Inabel Burns Lindsey (1916-1983): Social worker, professor and first dean of the Howard University School of Social Work. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from