chapter  4
12 Pages

Prophetic Social Scientists

WithJohn H. Stanfield

One of the major consequences of becoming absorbed members of our professional communities is that many black social scientists have come to embrace positivistic notions of science. While many white social scientists are beginning to publish statements on the value ladenness of research and the ethical, prejudicial, and political problems which distort the meaning of scientific research, too many of us continue to place full faith in the logic of positivistic inquiry. A major area of positivistic reasoning is the argument that social scientists should not be activists. It is assumed that activism compromises the neutrality of the researcher. The work of the Julius Rosenwald Fund and its sponsored Fisk University Social Science Division and Atlanta based Commission on Interracial Cooperation were networks of foundation officers and southern social scientists and civic leaders who had visionary blueprints for an integrated society which became increasingly bolder as the 1940s advanced.