Skip to main content

Happy Jane Addams Day!

This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog.

Jane Addams was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize - the Peace Prize in 1931. Since 2007, Illinois has marked her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with a statewide holiday (although no school is canceled and people still have to go to work).

I actually like holidays where kids have to be in school, and it's not just because I want to get my daughter out of the house so I can go to work. Rather, I would hope that on Jane Addams Day (December 10th of each year), students are taught about the many amazing things she did in Chicago that still impact lives across the world.

Addams not only transformed the field of social work, she was also a founder and the first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and she campaigned against World War I.

Addams didn't do her work alone. Far from it, as she was a resident of Chicago's Hull House:
The residents of Hull-House formed an impressive group, including Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Florence Kelley, Dr. Alice Hamilton, Julia Lathrop, Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Grace and Edith Abbott. From their experiences in the Hull-House neighborhood, the Hull-House residents and their supporters forged a powerful reform movement. Among the projects that they helped launch were the Immigrants' Protective League, the Juvenile Protective Association, the first juvenile court in the nation, and a Juvenile Psychopathic Clinic (later called the Institute for Juvenile Research). Through their efforts, the Illinois Legislature enacted protective legislation for women and children in 1893. With the creation of the Federal Children's Bureau in 1912 and the passage of a federal child labor law in 1916, the Hull-House reformers saw their efforts expanded to the national level.

Many organizations schedule events to mark the occasion of Jane Addams Day. On Tuesday I attended a portrayal of Addams performed by Annette M. Baldwin. I'm a women's history geek, so I really enjoyed it. Baldwin not only told Addams' story as Addams, but took questions (including one from a man who had met Addams) and showed a biographical slide show - with real slides, old school style. She travels around the country doing her shows, so do catch her if she shows up in your town.

Jane Addams was an amazing woman and continues to be a role model for us all, so whether you live in Illinois or not, take some time out to celebrate her life today. Happy Jane Addams Day!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is there love after abortion?

Over two years ago , way before I started writing for Girl w/Pen, Alison Piepmeier wowed me with an essay about getting an abortion and how her decision made with her husband was a love story : ...the story I most want to tell—and one I have never heard—is of abortion as an intimate part of a couple’s life together.  Our abortion was a love story. I’d worried that Walter and I were rejecting a gift from the universe.  What I discovered, though, was that when we stripped away the distractions of everyday life so that we could make this difficult decision together, it bound us together as surely as if our choice had been different—and as it turns out, that was the gift. Every once in awhile their story returns to me. I often don't know why it stumbles into my brain and says, "Hey! Ponder me!" but it does. This morning it returned to me yelling, "Why?!" I was half-listening to WBEZ's 848 and some story about a man running away from his life. Original, I kn

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015

When I asked social media which Chicago women kicked ass in 2015, I got a list far too long to do justice. I also realized how many of my lady friends kick ass every day, but it's a constant kicking of the ass, not a lot of headline kicking. Ya know what I mean? So I tried to make this list a mix of Chicagoans who had some headline kicks and some who kick ass every day and deserve a shout out. Let's get started, shall we? Photos from social media or public domain pages Luvvie Ajayi Luvvie did my job and summed up her amazing year herself! I love it when women do that. Yes, let's take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and dance at our own parties. Luvvie makes us laugh, even when we want to cry. She pushes us to be active, even down to our shoes. You'll never laugh so hard when learning so much than when you are in a meeting with her. From hanging with celebs to her epic travel schedule, Luvvie definitely owned 2015. Charlene Carruthers Carruther