November 12, 2012

“James R. Dumpson, a Defender of the Poor”

Filed under: Uncategorized — susanwoodland @ 4:08 pm

James R. Dumpson died last week, according to his obituary in the New York Times,  from which the following quotes are taken.

“… [A]s New York City’s commissioner of welfare in the 1960s [he] fiercely defended relief payments as both necessary and moral”.  He was trained as a social worker and was first appointed to a city post under Mayor Robert F. Wagner in 1959.  In addition, “Mr. Dumpson held high posts under Mayors John V. Lindsay, Abraham D. Beame, Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins.”  The Times ends his obituary with this quote:

” ‘You’ve always got to hold on to the great potential for change that people have … and when you see that change – that’s what keeps social workers from being overwhelmed from the misery around us.’ ”

What is the connection between Federation and Mr. Dumpson?  While processing the papers of Sanford Solender, there were many files documenting Solender’s work with the Community Council of Greater New York’s Task Force on the New York City Crisis.  This group of files was found to contain correspondence and other information from Dumpson’s office.  Solender was the chair of this task force from about 1975-1977, and there are 3 feet of files in the collection that document his tenure in this position.

For more information on Sanford Solender’s involvement with this task force, see our earlier post on the Community Council.

. Solender correspondence to Administrator James R. Dumpson, Human Resources Administration, 1975

Dumpson was brought onto the task force early in 1976 as a consultant because of his expertise in areas of social services in New York City, and no doubt because of his sympathetic attitude towards the work of not only Federation’s agencies, but all of the social services agencies in New York City during this daunting fiscal crisis.



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