Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Jane Addams a Woman of History

Jane was born September 6, 1860 the youngest of nine children.  Her childhood was marked by death and disease.  Her mother died when she was two years old, four of her siblings by her eighth birthday and at four Jane was diagnosed with Pott’s disease, tuberculosis which left her spine disfigured, she grew up believing herself to be ugly.
Influenced by the writing of Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Mazzini’s Duties of Man, the stories of her mother’s work with poor of Cedarville and fathers political views, Jane grew-up with a strong belief that society did not have to stay the same that social change was possible if people care and Jane Addam did care.

She graduated from Rockford Female Seminary, in Rockford Illinois only to have tragedy visited Jane once again, her father died.  Her inheritance allowed Jane to realize her dream.

Jane traveled to in England where she experienced firsthand the benefits of the Settlement movement and upon her return to the United States she started the Settlement Hull house in Chicago.

Jane moved into the Hull house and lived there until her death on May 21, 1935.  Within this enlightened, socially conscious community Jane found the opportunity to put her ideas for social change and social advocacy to paper, writing eleven books and many articles.

A pacifist Jane wrote and advocated loudly for peace and the human treatment of all people during and after WWI chairing the Women’s Conference for Peace in the Hague and founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

In 1931 Jane was the second woman and the first American woman to receive the Noble Peace Prize.  Jane worked for social reform for immigrants, women and children assisting in the development of:
  • Immigrants Protective League
  • Juvenile Protective Association
  • the separation of adult and juvenile courts
  • Legislation for women and children
  • is considered a founding agent in the field of Social Work
  • and so much more

Jane Addams is a woman who while living a financially privileged life she used her intelligence and inheritance to make social change happen.  

As parents and grandparents let’s tell Jane Addams’ story to our children and encourage them to explore literature that challenges our current social norms and encourage independent thought and boldness in the face of social injustice.  

Finally is not enough to acknowledge the problems in our society.  Jane was also influenced by her parents behaviors - their action.  

We the parents and grandparents of today have within us the power to do something about the social injustice we see – we need to volunteer, walk, bake, stalk shelves to become active in changing the social injustice that we see around us.

Please learn more about Jane Addams explore the links below:

Grandma Snyder

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