Jane Addams, A Prophet for All Times

“…of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.-Jane Addams

I was surprised to learn that Hull House, the first settlement house in the country which Jane Addams co-founded, closed recently…in 2012. It was open for 123 years!  Amazing it lasted that long!!!!   And of course we all know why it closed…lack of government subsidies since too many people in Congress feel that the poor are getting a free ride with Medicaid and Food Stamps and other necessary programs.

Jane Addams was born today in 1860…yes, a prophet in so many ways!  Born to privilege and also very fragile health-wise, Jane Addams believed early on in her life that everyone should be given assistance that needed it and everyone should be afforded equal opportunities.

“Contradicting the expectations for women of her time, Jane Addams was a radical from her younger years on through her seventies:  An educated woman who turned her ideals into realities; a physically frail woman who overcame her precarious health throughout her life with unflagging work for countless humanitarian causes; a woman who spent more than 30 years in a loving and committed relationship with another woman, Mary Rozet Smith; a suffragist and ardent supporter of union workers during industrial disputes (resulting in people withdrawing their support for her work); and an enduring pacifist who was ostracized and cruelly criticized for her anti-military stance at the time of WWI.  We honor Jane Addams for her beliefs that social justice and peace are essential for the hope of humanity, and for her life of action true to her beliefs.”

Margaret Wakeley

Hull House had many offerings under one roof: educational, medical, social, physical, cultural: “By its second year of existence, Hull-House was host to two thousand people every week. There were kindergarten classes in the morning, club meetings for older children in the afternoon, and for adults in the evening more clubs or courses in what became virtually a night school. The first facility added to Hull-House was an art gallery, the second a public kitchen; then came a coffee house, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, a cooperative boarding club for girls, a book bindery, an art studio, a music school, a drama group, a circulating library, an employment bureau, a labor museum.”-nobelprize.org

I know there are grassroots organizers out there who are struggling to create programs that help our most neediest of citizens; I only hope the government gives rather than denies.








5 thoughts on “Jane Addams, A Prophet for All Times

  1. Before I was a teacher, I was a social worker in my past life. Jane Addams should be taught more prominently in the high school textbooks. Wishful thinking…

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