Norma Thomas

About Me

Display Name

Norma Thomas

Twitter Handle



What I Write

Writing Sample

Bleaching of America
There is a concerted effort to change the painted landscape of America
Force out all the shades of color
And make the land monochromatic white.
But what made America great is the beautiful hues of the rainbow
That stretch from shore to shore.
So let’s stop the bleaching of America.

People say they envy me,
They admire my ability to fulfill many roles,
The consummate juggler of time, people, and events.
What they don’t understand is that my perpetual motion
Stems from a deep seated fear, irrational though it may be,
Which makes my mind reach for new goals,
Create new projects, new places to go
Before the last ones are close to completion.
When my mother, who I reflect,
Slowed down and gave up the struggle,
She died.
And I fear that I will do the same.

All Things Must End
Even though I loved you
And hurt deeply because you turned your back on me.
Still shed tears of loneliness
And wear an expression of dejection,
Where a once elated smile was ejected out,
“Cause you said there’s someone new,
Don’t think that I’m staying here on the ground,
Wasting my life over
Today feeling sad.
Won’t give a damn.

When I look in the mirror, I see her face.
And I swore I’d never be like her, never say what she said,
Never do what she did.
As I recall how she gave me advice,
That I always listened to but rarely followed,
Never quite understanding her emotions
From great anguish and anger,
To extreme pride and joy, her sacrifice and selflessness,
All connected to her children.
Even her marriage took a back seat for the sake of those same children.
And I said I’d never be like her,
Never say what she said, never do what she did.
What emptiness there is seeing her face in that mirror,
Even though in headstrong youth we fought over everything,
(In later years, she never remembered those fights
And said we always got along),
She became my best friend, my confidant, my therapist
Greatest fan and supporter.
And I said I’d never be like her,
Never say what she said,
Never do what she did.
What I see in that mirror, so others too see,
People who knew her stop me sometimes and marvel at the resemblance,
Say I stay busy like her,
Take care of my children, just like her.
Brothers and sisters call me so that
I can listen and give advice,
That they always hear, but seldom follow.
That mirror knows that I am just like her.
I say just what she said, I do just what she did,
I am her all wrapped up in me.
And it sees the joy in her memory,
And it sees the pain in her absence,
And it sees the fact that she has never really left.

What I Write

Poetry and currently working on an autobiography.


Academic Publications:
León, R. & Thomas, N.D. (2016). Critical race theory and the cultivation, mentorship and retention of Black women faculty. American International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 2(1), 9-16.
Perry-Burney, G., Thomas, N.D., & McDonald, T.L. (2014). Rural child sexual abuse in the African American church community: A forbidden topic. Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment 24(8, 986-995.)
Thomas, N & León, R. (2012). Breaking barriers: Using poetry as a
tool to enhance diversity understanding with youth and
adults. Journal of Poetry Therapy: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, Research and Education. 25(2), 83-93.
Thomas, N. (March 2012). The evolution of the community service system for older adults in the United States and predictions for the future. Journal of Chongqing Technology and Business University, China (Social Science Edition). 03.
Thomas, N. (2006) When it happens to your family: One social worker’s response. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services 5(1) 57-66.
Thomas, N. (2005) Generalist practice with older people. In J. Poulin (Ed.). Strengths based generalist practice: A collaborative approach 2nd edition (pp. 366-397). Belmont: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.
Thomas, N. (2005). Social work practice with people of color. In J.
Poulin (Ed.). Strengths based generalist practice: A collaborative approach. 2nd edition. (pp. 398-430). Belmont: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.
Cooper, R. Groce, J. & Thomas, N. (2003). Changing direction: Rites of passage programs for African American older men. Journal of African American Studies. 7(3), 3-13.
Thomas, N & Soliman, H. (2002). Preventable tragedies: Heat disaster and the elderly. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 4(38), 53-66.
Thomas, N. (Jan. 2001). The importance of culture throughout all of life and beyond. Holistic Nursing Practice. 15(2),40-46).
Thomas, N. (2000) Social work practice with older adults. In J. Poulin (Ed.). Collaborative social work: Strengths based
generalist practice(pp. 265-293). Itasca: Peacock Publishers, Inc.
Thomas, N. (2000). Social work practice with people of color. In J. Poulin (Ed.). Collaborative social work: Strengths based
generalist practice. (pp. 295-325). Itasca: Peacock Publishers, Inc.
Thomas, N. (Winter, 1998). Case management from an urban and
suburban perspective. Journal of Case Management. 7(4),
Thomas, N. (Spring, 1998). African American elderly: Structural
determinants of their use of formal long-term care
services. Black Caucus: Journal of the National Association of
Black Social Workers. 3(2), 8-11.
Thomas, N. & Coleman, S. (1997-8). Using the sensory orientation
group with the frail elderly population. Groupwork. 10(2),
Poulin, J. & Thomas, N. (Winter, 1998). Burnout and the geriatric care manager. Geriatric Care Management Journal. 8(1),
Tacchino, K. & Thomas, N. (1997). Why geriatric care managers and financial planners must talk to each other. Generations.
21(2), 41-45.
Thomas, N. (1997). Hoarding behavior and the elderly: Eccentricity or pathology. Journal of Gerontological Social Work. 29(1),
Thomas, N. (1996). Families in Society: Journal of Contemporary
Human Services. 77(5), 316-17. Book review titled
Strengthening Aging Families: Diversity and Practice and
Other Publications:
Thomas, N. (2017). The importance of cultural responsiveness in the aging experience. In V. Ward. Supercharge your life after 60: 10 tips to navigate a dynamic decade. (pp. 225-228) Brentwood, CA 94513: Nubian Images Publishing.
Thomas, N., Dickerson, J. & Groce, J. (2011). African American male-female relationships: Today’s reality. Fatherhood Institute
Thomas, N. (Fall, 2008). How public housing renewal affects older adults in communities of color. Diversity Currents,
Thomas, N. (Summer, 2008). A search for New Orleans elders finds little focus on older hurricane victims. Diversity Currents,
Thomas, N. (2006). The health of older women of African descent during the life course. Spectrum Newsletter. University of Pennsylvania Health System. Center on Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research 3(1).
Thomas, N (2001). Embracing the Cultural Mosaic Conference
Proceedings. State Society on Aging of New York.
Thomas, N. (Spring, 1998). OCD behaviors. Hoarding: When does
eccentricity become pathology? The Brown University
GeroPsych Report. 2(9), 6-7.
Thomas, N. & Colbert, C. (1998). Care management: It is time to
consider another way. PCMI Perspectives. Pennsylvania Care
Management Institute. Norristown, Pa. pp. 7-10.
Thomas, N. (1996). Formal service utilization by African American
elderly: Structural, individual and cultural determinants.
(Doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1996).

My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I have written poetry for a number of years and have been published in anthologies but many years ago. My primary goal now that I am retired, is to share my poetry and to work towards publication so that I can leave a creative writing legacy. I also am in the process of writing my autobiography as an African American woman from rural Western Pennsylvania.