Social work and human services

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  • Academic level: College
  • Type: Case study
  • Subject: Social Work and Human Services
  • Topic: Writer’s choice
  • Style: Harvard
  • Number of pages: 8 pages/double spaced (2200 words)
  • PowerPoint slides: 0
  • Number of source/references: 1
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 Issue and cause

Briefly describe the community and the issue they are facing. Identify the root causes or systemic factors that have contributed to the problem, the overall goal of the effort, and some of the tactics employed by the community.


Discuss ways in which they used confrontational or collaborative approaches and whether they used a strengths or needs-based approach. Where would the effort likely fit in the four-quadrant community change framework?


Identify one or two community practice theories that informed their work. Summarize the theory in a few sentences. Next, discuss what specific goals, strategies or tactics lead you to that conclusion? Please refer to class readings when identifying theories. How helpful were the theories in guiding their work?


Who were the key stakeholders, organizations, and community members engaged in the case study? How well did they engage key stakeholders, organizations or community members in the process?

Human rights

Describe how the social change effort sought to advance fundamental human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, and education. Identify the specific human rights or social justice appeals made by the group and discuss the effort’s effectiveness in advancing those rights or demands for justice.


Based on what you learned this semester, what do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this effort? What suggestions would you have for strengthening the effort? 

1971: In 
Durham, North Carolina
Ann Atwater tries to get better housing conditions for poor black people, and is ignored by the all-white judge panel. 
C. P. Ellis is the president of the 
KKK, and has a family with children. He loves and cares for his family. Ann’s daughters’ school catches on fire (whether by accident or arson is unclear), and CP is afraid that the black children will come to the white schools. The city council makes a finding the school is still usable, so the NAACP helps file a lawsuit. The judicial decision is to bring in a proven mediation expert, Bill Riddick, who sets up a meeting with the both of them.

At first, both of them refuse since they hate each other, but then they are convinced. CP is a proud racist and refuses to sit with Bill and Ann, since they are black and he is white. Bill tells them the 
charrettes are designed to help groups develop solutions, so this one will tackle school segregation and other educational issues for the whole Durham school district.

They agree to pick some people randomly from the group to vote on the issues at the end of the meeting sessions. CP tries to talk to folks selected to vote, but is mostly rebuffed. A black reverend asks Bill if he can play gospel music at the end of each session. CP hotly refuses, saying if the blacks want to sing gospel music at the charrette, he should be allowed to put out his KKK items to display. Ann refuses, but Bill agrees.

At one meeting, a group of black teenagers tries to destroy the KKK items, but Ann stops and tells them to instead understand what the KKK is. All this is observed by CP from afar.

Then Bill makes the blacks and whites in their group sit next to each other in the cafeteria and eat. He makes CP and Ann sit together alone. They eat in tense silence, then Ann asks CP if he has a boy in Murdock. CP hotly says that he won’t talk about his boy. Murdock is a facility that takes care of disabled boys where his son with 
Down Syndrome resides.

CP is called to Murdock, and he rushes over. His disabled son, Larry, has been put in the same room with another disabled boy. The other boy is screaming, upsetting Larry. CP demands his son be placed in a room of his own. But the nurses tell him he can’t afford it. Later, Ann visits Larry and asks a favor from Bernadette, who works there, to put Larry in his own room.

Bill takes Ann, CP, and the rest of their group to visit the black school that was burned. CP is shocked by how dark and smelly it is, thanks to the damage. Ann’s daughter says hi to Ann, but looks at CP like he’s evil when she finds out who he is. CP’s wife, Mary, is overjoyed with Ann’s help, and she visits Ann to thank her. Ann asks her if CP has always been racist, and Mary says yes. Later, CP expresses his confusion over his encounter with Ann’s daughter, and how she looked at him like he was a monster to Mary. However, Mary, frustrated at CP’s refusal to change even after what Ann did for them, angrily asks CP what he honestly expected. She questions why he’s really doing this. Her statement rattles CP and makes him question if he is in fact doing more harm than good as his actions with the KKK have made him a monster to children such as Ann’s.

The night before the final vote, CP’s KKK troublemaking friends go and threaten the selected voters to vote for segregation. CP finds out about this and is enraged—especially when he learns one of their targets was Lee, who owns a store and served in Vietnam. They are close friends and Lee employs a black manager named Emmett. Having talked to Lee earlier, CP had learned Lee and Emmett served together and it’s heavily implied Emmett saved Lee’s life. Ann also finds about it and screams at CP, calling him a coward.

During the voting, all the issues pass, coming down to the final issue of desegregation. One by one, the voters vote. Ann votes for it, and CP, surprising everyone, does the same, after realizing the KKK is hateful. He makes a speech and rips up his KKK membership card, much to the fury of his watching KKK friends. They threaten him and try to set the gas station he owns on fire, but CP puts it out. Now the white community won’t buy his gas anymore, his station is going out of business. Ann and Bill visit him with smiles and they bring in the black community to buy from him instead.

It is revealed that the real life Ann and CP went around to different cities together, to talk about their experiences and remained friends to the end of CP’s life, with Ann giving the eulogy at his funeral.

Case Analysis: Racism in Durham, North Carolina 1

Case Analysis: Racism in Durham, North Carolina

By (Name of the student)

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Case Analysis: Racism in Durham, North Carolina

Issue and Cause

The case is set in Durham, North Carolina, a segregated community. The case discusses the impacts of segregation and how it has divided the community based on skin color. The main issue, in this case, is racism, which has resulted in two polarized communities, whites and blacks, which do not get along. There is a clear separation in terms of socioeconomic status due to inequality, making the black communities live substandard lifestyles while the whites are the upper class of the region. Inequality and segregation have led to several challenges that the black must endure. Ann Atwater, an advocate for black civil rights and a community organizer, is reported to have invested lots of efforts in advocating for better housing conditions to be offered to black communities; however, she is intentionally ignored by the judging panel, which is composed of all-white judges (Student Notes, n.d., p.1). Even the judicial system did not take the issue seriously, suggesting that the Durham community had severe segregation and racial elements that needed to be addressed.

The cause of school segregation is the prevalence of systematic racism, where the community and various systems, including the justice system, unequally treat the community based on race. The case gives an example where Ann’s daughter’s school burns down, and a solution cannot be determined in time to help the children who are likely to stay home. Systematic racism is portrayed not only at the judicial level but also among the top influencers in the community. For example, C.P. Ellis, the president of the KKK group, is racist. He is portrayed as a loving father to his family but does not like when black children are admitted to the white school even after the city council determines that the black school is burned beyond useable standards (Student Notes, n.d., p.1). The hatred between the black and white communities is described as intense to facilitate negotiations and agreements between the two communities. In the first instance, the meeting seems impossible as hatred supersedes the need to find solutions for the children whose school burned down. However, through the mediation approach, the judge decides to assign Bill Riddick, a mediation expert, to set up a meeting between Ann and CP. The goal of this mediation meeting was to help the group develop solutions to address school segregation and other educational issues affecting the Durham school district.


Solving the school segregation and prevalent racism in Durham required a unique approach, especially getting the two communities together to discuss matters of the same category. The whites and blacks in the community are different in so many ways. For instance, the whites belong to a higher social and economic class, while the blacks live in poor conditions. Generally, these two groups do not have similar social and economic problems, meaning that discussing solutions to an accruing issue will not be easy. Also, there is hatred between the two communities. As a result, the judicial system recommends a more collaborative approach where the rival ethnic groups can meet to discuss the matter. However, this approach proves troublesome. As a result, the judicial system assigns an expert mediator to help the two representatives, Ann and CP, discuss the ongoing and emerging problems.

Furthermore, solving the problem requires the participation of the whole community, not just Ann and CP. Therefore, through the help of Bill, they agree to select random community members to vote on various issues after the meeting sessions. It indicates that the two rival groups relied on a needs-based approach to mitigate the challenge. For instance, due to community hatred, CP’s attempts to request the groups to vote in favor of his opinions are rejected (Student Notes, n.d., p.1). As if the efforts of the mediator were not enough, a black reverend intervenes and suggests that Bill should play some gospel music at the close of the sessions to help calm the atmosphere. Due to the racist nature of CP, he refutes this idea and demands that if the gospel songs are granted, then he should also be granted permission to display various KKK items. To intervene as fair and equal as possible, Bill gives this demand, a decision Ann and a group of black teenagers disagreed with. Some attempted to destroy the items; however, Ann intervened.

While attempting to get the two communities and representatives to get along, Bill asks the two groups to sit next to each other while having lunch at the cafeteria. Similarly, Ann and CP were made to sit together with the hope that they might get along, a sign that might change the perspective of the community at large. While considering the four-quadrant community change program, the effort fits the fourth quadrant based on cultural views. Cultural perspectives primarily focus on unwritten rules to mitigate community challenges or problems (Lederach, Culbertson, and Neufeldt, 2007, p. 18). It allows team members to communicate the change they require in peace-building work and conflict transformation.


While analyzing the case and the solution strategies applied to address the issue, it can be agreed that the meditator, Ann, and CP followed a social learning theory approach. According to community practice principles, social learning theory involves the application of social learning context to illustrate a subject matter (Akers, 2017, p. 301). In this case, it required both groups’ participation in learning the fire’s impacts on the school and how it would affect the students admitted there. Also, the social learning approach enabled some white folks to remember the effects of their racist behaviors and reconsider their position in not allowing black children to attend a white school. This theory aims to facilitate learning of a given subject more inclusively. In this case, it sought to take the white folks through the experiences of the black community and how the school was affected, aiming to convince them to reconsider their position. It aimed to make the matter clearer and the goals of the meetings more concrete to make the decision process more meaningful. The interplay between making the subject matter more concrete and allowing inclusive participation facilitates an engaging learning history, giving the approach a dynamic and informal social structure.

Since the reported problems are affecting the whole community, the two groups are called into a meeting to help discuss these problems and help come up with effective solutions. The decision to involve the communities and encourage them to work together towards findings a solution to the problem supports the principles of social learning theory. Since by discussing these fundamental issues, the two groups can learn the root cause and probably come up with an effective solution. Also, this approach is more holistic. For example, instead of the judicial panel coming up with a solution by themselves, they recommend that the community be included and the problem be investigated from a broader perspective.


The case included several vital stakeholders participating in the negotiation process and implementing significant changes. The primary stakeholders comprised Ann Atwater, civil rights activist; C.P., Ellis president of the KKK group; and Bill Riddick, who acted as the mediator between the two groups represented by CP and Ann. Other stakeholders include the judicial panel, which initiated the meeting through Bill, CP’s wife, who confronted CP for his racial behavior, and the white and black voting groups participating in the assessment and voting process. At the same time, the community participants are considered critical stakeholders as they tried to discuss ways in which the victims of the burned school would be helped.

The matter is considered delicate and should be handled with care; otherwise, conflicts would have occurred, mainly due to the hatred and segregation between whites and blacks. The judicial system was aware of this possibility and decided to appoint Bill, an expert mediator, to convene with the two community representatives. Because of the several years of segregation and hatred between whites and blacks, getting the two communities to solve various issues was a problem since they did not face the same problems. Bill decided to engage the stakeholders through scheduled meetings to discuss the issue of school segregation and other educational problems within the Durham school district.

Since the matter would be subjected to the voting decision method, it was the responsibility of Ann, Bill, and CP to ensure that the voters and the two communities participated in the process. Each group leader engaged their groups through the process to ask them to consider the case of children whose school was ruined. Also, Bill engaged the groups through meetings and even attempted to get them to eat together. In addition, Bill takes the two groups, CP and Ann, to the burnt school to assess its condition to determine whether children should be allowed to continue studying there. The visit is significant as it will enable those who oppose the suggestion for black kids to be allowed in white schools to witness the situation. The case reports the dismay on CP’s face when he sees how the school is smelly and dark following the fire damages.

Human Rights

The social change campaign not only aimed to solve school segregation issues but also greatly influenced other social factors like human rights, freedom, safety, privacy, healthcare, adequate living standards, and education in general. The cause of school segregation was racism among the region’s white communities. Also, the case begins with Ann advocating for better housing for the poor black communities (Student Notes, n.d., p.1). The statement shows that African Americans in this region live in inadequate living conditions and are impacted by poverty, which probably extends to poor healthcare. Starting from a simple case of fighting for black children to be afforded rights to education, Ann exposed several ways black communities are disadvantaged and forced to live in poor conditions while whites have privileges.

Furthermore, inequality has affected the minorities in Durham, North Carolina. This case gives an example of a scenario where even the judicial system, made up of all white judges, ignored efforts by Ann for proper housing for the black communities. Thus, the primary social justice appeals concepts applicable to this case are equal concern and respect and respect for freedom. For instance, similar care and concern acted as an eye opener for people like CP, who realized that hatred and racial behaviors are causing more harm than good to a community that would have otherwise existed in peace. This process improved learning conditions in the area, where school children were no longer segregated through skin color but were allowed to learn together in a single school. Additionally, this social change program acted as the first step to facilitate the improvement of several sectors like healthcare, security, privacy, and freedom. Also, the respect for freedom appeal enabled the two communities to select voting groups to help them build consensus. It means that equality became a fundamental element of the procedure. In as much as security was still an issue, it is reported that a group of KKK members threatened the voting groups. This outreach acted as the beginning of further changes that were to come. However, the intervention by Ann and other stakeholders managed to turn a proud racist like CP into a supporter of equality, a sign that through further efforts, more people can be made to appreciate diversity and equality among all American communities.


The case study is an example of the ongoing efforts to promote equality and discourage racism in American society. These efforts have been at play for several years, and in as much as some significant changes have been implemented, we still have a long way to go before achieving equality in all sectors. Some of the strengths of this effort include the presence of strong and determined activists like Ann Atwater. She ensured that the judicial system, the community, and the world became aware of the ongoing segregation, even for innocent school children. Ann is a renowned civil rights activist who advocated for several changes, including equality in education, human rights, proper housing for black communities, and other campaigns. She was the face of the proponents who ensured that black children in the Durham school district received equal education as white children.

Another strength of this social effort is the collective and inclusive participation of the whole community allowing the public to express their opinions and participate in voting for what is right. If the matter were left to the judiciary or any other organization, the community would not have been represented equally, as most of these organizations and agencies were made of white individuals. However, the lack of unity in the Durham region can be considered the major weakness, resulting in conflicts and subsequent segregation. For example, members of the KKK tried to burn Mr. CP’s gas station and later decided not to buy gas from his station.

I would have recommended using peaceful campaigns and outreach programs to educate the public on the importance of unity and the abolishment of racism. Some individuals are racist without even knowing it. Such individuals often engage in racial acts because they see others doing them. Therefore, peaceful campaigns would have created awareness of the impacts of racism and segregation while encouraging equality. For example, CP initially disagreed with the idea of black children being admitted to white schools without knowing the condition and damages caused by the fire. However, when he visited the school, he was shocked at the state where the children were forced to study. This experience made him implement the changes, leading to disassociation with racist groups. Therefore public campaigns and outreach programs remain critical in sensitizing the public on the need for equality and individual choice.


Solving systematic racism and segregation in Durham, North Carolina, will require further efforts. For example, mobilizing political and public efforts to implement and craft various remedies appropriate for encouraging a just future. Such actions will act as the fundamental strategies to rectify the years of inequality and unjust prospects like housing policies, school segregation, violation of human rights, and other elements that continue to impact several families today.

List of References

Akers, R.L., 2017. Rational choice, deterrence, and social learning theory in criminology: The path not taken. In 
Crime Opportunity Theories (pp. 299-322). Routledge.

Lederach, J.P., Culbertson, H. and Neufeldt, R., 2007. 
Reflective peace-building: A planning, monitoring and learning toolkit. Joan B. Kroc Inst. for International Peace Studies. [Online]. (Accessed July 28, 2022).

Student Notes. n.d. Case study.

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