|Monroe Nathan Work|
August 15, 1866|
Iredell County, North Carolina
|Died||May 2, 1945
|Alma mater||University of Chicago
(B.A. and M.A.)
|Known for||Department of Records and Research at the Tuskegee Institute|
|Notable work||Negro Year Book
A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America
|Spouse(s)||Florence E. Hendrickson|
|Awards||Harmon Award in Education (1928)|
Monroe Nathan Work (August 15, 1866–May 2, 1945) was an American sociologist who founded the Department of Records and Research at the Tuskegee Institute in 1908 and expanded its national reputation. With much of his career he strove to advance credibility to the anti-lynching campaigns and the National Negro Health Week movement. His chief works include the Negro Year Book and A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America—a bibliography of 17,000 references on African Americans. These resources were the largest of their kind in an era when scholarship by and about black Americans was highly inaccessible, and overlooked or ignored by most academics in the US.
Work was born to former slaves in Iredell County, North Carolina, and moved in 1867 to Cairo, Illinois, where his father pursued farming. As a person who was able to hear about the many injustices his people suffered, he strove towards finding ways to make himself useful in the continued struggle for equality; the turn of the century was a period when the number of Jim Crow laws were increasing and race relations were deteriorating in periodic violence. At the age of 23 Work decided to pursue higher education and entered a biracial high school in Arkansas City, Kansas. He managed to graduate third in his class, and after a stint as a preacher and training at the Chicago Theological Seminary he decided to become a sociologist. Transferring to the University of Chicago, Work found himself in the midst of the same social problems for African Americans that he had decided to fight. He spent time in Chicago researching the correlation of the highest crime rates among blacks to the large proportion living in slums. His paper on this would become the first article published within the American Journal of Sociology by an African American. By the time he was done with school in Chicago he had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology.
After graduating in 1903 he moved to Savannah, Georgia, to become a professor at Georgia State Industrial College. He married Florence E. Hendrickson of Savannah on December 27, 1904. He also attended the July 1905 conference of the Niagara Movement at the invitation of W. E. B. Du Bois.
In 1908 he accepted a position from Booker T. Washington to found the Department of Records and Research at the Tuskegee Institute. While here he would begin the Negro Year Book, a yearly publication that compiled facts, sociological data, and directories of distinguished people surrounding the current state of black progress in the US since emancipation. The Negro Year Book also for a time incorporated his periodic summation of lynching reports, which were so thoroughly compiled that the Tuskegee Institute became one of the most quoted and undisputed sources on this form of racial violence.
- "Crime Among the Negroes in Chicago", American Journal of Sociology, VI, September 1900, 204-223
- Monroe Work, ed. (1912). Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro. Nashville, TN: Sunday School Union Print – via HathiTrust.
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1913, Negro Year Book Co., Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1913
- Monroe Work, ed. (1914). Negro Year Book. Alabama: Negro Year Book Publishing Company, Tuskegee Institute – via HathiTrust.
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1916-1917, Negro Year Book Publishing Company, Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1916
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1918-1919, The Negro Year Book Publishing Co., Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1919
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1921-1922. The Negro Year Book Publishing Company: Tuskegee Institute, 1922.
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1925-1926, Negro Year Book Publishing Co., Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1925
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1931-1932 Negro Year Book Publishing Co., Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1931
- (ed.) Negro Year Book; An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1937-1938 Negro Year Book Publishing Co., Tuskegee Institute, AL, 1937
- (ed.) A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America, New York, NY, 1928
- Kreiger, Caroline, "Work, Monroe Nathan (1866-1945)", Blackpast.org.
- McMurry, Linda O. (2004). Recorder of the Black Experience: A Biography of Monroe Nathan Work.
- Joyce Blackwell-Johnson (1996). "Work, Monroe Nathan". In Faustine Childress Jones-Wilson. Encyclopedia of African-American Education. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 525–6. ISBN 978-0-313-28931-6.
- Black Biographical dictionaries, 1790-1950 from Indiana University Library
- The MacMillion Center at Yale University
- Alkalimat, Abdul (2004). The African American Experience in Cyberspace. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-2222-0.