An Historical Sketch (1972-2007)

The Association for Non-White Concerns (ANWC) in Personnel and Guidance, a division of the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA) became a reality at the 1972 conference in Chicago, Illinois. Early groundwork for the Division began in Las Vegas several years before. It was through the hard work and efforts of some sincere, interested ANWC members that the mission was accomplished. Prior to the formation of the Division, members were paying their dues but had limited representation, and no voting rights either on the APGA Board of Directors or the Senate.

After the Las Vegas Convention, APGA set up an Office of Non-White Concerns, with no power except to keep APGA informed, and to keep the members’ interest group pacified. When the ANWC members requested for an application to become a division of APGA, they were told that no such instrument existed, and that APGA could not help them. At a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the request was once again made for a division membership application. It was debated in the Senate, and after much discussion and testimony, APGA once again turned down the request; they decided that there was no need for such a division, since the office of APGA looked after the Non-White concerns.

The interest group of ANWC continued to lobby for a division because they felt that there was a need to have voting privileges on the Board of Directors and the Senate. Throughout the convention, the members continued to have their own sessions and group meetings. APGA was quite unhappy about the actions but they were unable to discourage the members, even though the “top brass” of APGA met with them to forbid them from meeting outside of the scheduled APGA session. After the meeting, the interest group gained more members. They elected officers and raised funds to carry on the goals of the group.

The next convention was to be held in Chicago, but the members could not participate as an interest group, only through the established division. Therefore the interest group for ANWC had a pre-conference workshop, which APGA said could not be done without their approval. Over 400 persons attended the pre-conference, which was well planned and concluded with a banquet.

Prior to the members’ arrival in Chicago, they were notified to meet with the APGA Board of Directors in New Orleans (at their own expense), which consisted of the elected officers of the ANWC interest group. In Chicago it was explained to the members again that there was no division membership applications, or regulations that could help them, but they did appoint a committee from the Board to develop a plan. It was emphasized again that APGA could give them no help in the formation of a division. The ANWC interest group elected officers and kept the members aware of what was happening, by use of a newsletter that carried all the letters that APGA wrote to the chairperson. One APGA employee visited the chairperson, and pleaded not to have the pre-conference in Chicago, and it was not necessary to form a new division because members’ concerns were well taken care of by APGA. Everything was still going well for the ANWC interest group and there was no need to turn back.

The ANWC interest group really caught fire after they learned of the games that were being played by APGA. After being told that APGA could not give ANWC any assistance in becoming a division, the elected persons from the group summoned to Washington, D.C. (APGA headquarters), to discuss their becoming a division of APGA. This was about three weeks prior to the convention, and the members had to pay their own way once again. Quite a discussion took place at APGA headquarters about the name; tax-exempt status; membership, etc. Their officials really did everything possible to get the ANWC members to change their plans and wait because it was impossible to be chartered in such a short time.

After over five hours of discussion, the lawyer for APGA opened his attaché case and presented the ANWC members with a seal and charter that had to be notarized. They were amazed at this point, almost paranoid. So the ANWC members journeyed in a rainstorm until about 8:00pm before they located a Notary at home. However, they accomplished their mission, much to the surprise of APGA officials and other doubtful persons.

In Chicago, at the convention in 1972, the Association for Non-White Concerns became a reality. The elected Senators took their seats in the Senate and other ANWC officials carried out their tasks. There were games played in Chicago that one would never believe, but that would take another entire publication to cover.

The single individual most often identified as spearheading the founding of ANWC is Samuel H. Johnson of Atlanta, Georgia. “Sam”, as he was affectionately called by his friends and colleagues, had a vision – a vision that when nurtured became a reality known as the Association for Non-White Concerns. The name was changed to the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) in 1985, to more accurately reflect the efforts of the Association.

Through the efforts of Sam and other presidents who followed him, ANWC became one of the most recognized organizations for people of color in the helping professions. He served two terms as president of ANWC. He was also Emeritus President of AMCD. While serving as president of ANWC, Sam was executive director of the Southeastern Regional Office of the National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS), which he also founded. He retired from NSSFNS on May 4, 1991.

The mission of the organization, from its inception, is to recognize the human diversity and multicultural nature of our society; to enhance the development, human rights and the psychological health of all people as critical to the social, educational, political, professional and personal reform in the United States; to identify and work to eliminate conditions which create barriers to the individual development of non-whites; to develop, implement and/or foster interest in charitable, scientific and educational programs designed to further the interests of non-whites; to secure equality of treatment, advancement, qualifications and status individuals in Personnel and guidance work; to publish a journal and other scientific educational and professional materials with the purpose of raising the standards of all who work in guidance and counseling.

As AMCD celebrates more than thirty-five years of service to the helping professions, their founders and leaders employ all members to continue promoting appreciation, awareness and understanding of the unique cultures of their mosaic society.

Archives of AMCD are located:
Auburn Avenue Research Library Archives
101 Auburn Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303