Historical Figure: Jane Addams

I would like to introduce a historical figure who lived in the proximity of renewal.  During my college years in the school of social work, I first learned about Jane Addams. She was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 1931.

Jane first became interested in working with the poor after reading the literature of Charles Dickens. When she became a Christian she desired to bring her faith back to its roots. She began medical school, but did not finish due to health problems and depression. She felt like a failure due to this experience and hoped for a chance to overcome.

Eventually she came to found Hull House with a friend.  Hull House originated in a run-down mansion in an immigrant neighborhood of Chicago. She sought to help support the immigrant community by offering support, friendship, and needed assistance. She lived in the proximity of the people she served.

Hull House provided many services: a night school, kindergarten classes, clubs, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, gym, girls club, a bathhouse, a circulating library, a drama group, an art studio, and a music school. Hull House grew to include a complex of thirteen buildings including a playground and a summer camp.

She worked to improve housing, enforce stricter child-labor laws, and the right for woman to vote. Her group also helped establish the first juvenile court.

Her voice: 

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.

True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.

1 thought on “Historical Figure: Jane Addams

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