University administrator; sociologist; professor; writer. Born– March 20, 1926, Marion, Al.  Parents–Silas and Lucy Billingsley.  Married– Amy Loretta Tate.  Children– two.  Education– Grinnell College, A.B., 1951; Boston University, M.S., 1956; University of Michigan, M.A., 1960; Brandeis University, Ph.D., 1964.  U.S. Army, WWII, 1944-46.  American Friends Service Committee, director of Youth Service Projects, Chicago, 1951-54; psychiatric social worker, Mendota State Hospital, Madison, WI, 1956-58; Director of Friends International Student Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1959-60; social worker and research assistant, Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1960-63; taught at University of California, Berkeley, 1964-1970; assistant chancellor for academic affairs, Berkeley, 1968-70.  Professor and Vice president for academic affairs, Howard University, 1970-74; President, Morgan State University, Baltimore, 1975-1984.  Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, 1985-87; Professor, University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences, Columbia, 1988-1996.  Contributed scholarly articles to many professional journals and anthologies. Served on the board of The Black Scholar and the Journal of Afro-American Studies. Member American Sociological Association, National Association of Black Social Workers, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Council on Social Work Education, Child Welfare League. Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Grinnell College, 1971. Received the Michael Schwerner Memorial Award, City of New York, 1969; first national leadership award, Afro-American Family and Community Services, 1972; Outstanding Contribution to Excellence in Education Award, PUSH National Convention, 1972; the DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award from the American Sociological Association and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Black Sociologists.  Awarded emeritus status on his retirement from the University of Maryland in 1887; awarded the degree of  Doctor of Humane Letters  by Grinnell College in 1971 and Mercy College in 1982.


Who’s Who of Black Americans, 1980; Contemporary Authors online


Black Families and the Struggle for Survival. New York; Friendship Press, 1974.

Child Development and Family Life in the Black Community.  Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1974.

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: The Eduring Legacy of African-American Families.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1992.

The Evolution of the Black Family. New York; National Urban League, 1976.

Illegitimacy; Changing Services for Changing Times. New York; National Council on Illegitimacy, 1970.

Mighty like a River:  The Black Church and Social Reform.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999.

The Role of the Social Worker in a Child Protective Agency; a Comparative Analysis. Boston; Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1964.

The Social Worker in a Child Protective Agency. New York; National Association of Social Workers, 1965.

Yearning to Breathe Free:  Robert Smalls of South Carolina and His Families.  Columbia:  University of South Carolina Press, 2007.


Black Families in White America.  NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968; rev.ed. NY, 1988.

Children of the Storm; Black Children and American Child Welfare. New York; Harcourt, 1972.

Research on African-American Families; a Holistic Perspective. Boston, Mass.; Trotter Institute, University of Massachusetts, 1989.

Studies in Child Protective Services: Final Report of a Project Supported by the Children’s Bureau.  U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1969.


Black Colleges and Public Policy.  Chicago: Follett Press, 1986.

Blacks on White Campuses; Whites on Black Campuses.  Chicago: Follett, 1986.

Inside Black Colleges and Universities.  Chicago: Follett, 1986.