On Jane Addams Day we invite you to consider how to insert peaceful practices into your life and as a strategy to cultivate justice into your community.
Join us in celebrating Jane Addams Day, established as a commemorative holiday in Illinois in 2006 to remind their citizens of Addams’ lifelong commitment to making the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois – and the entire world – a better place.
The signing of the bill making December 10 a State Holiday brought to fruition over two years of dedicated work by Dongola Unit School teacher Cindy Vines and a team of five eighth-grade students – John Cauble, Katie Forcht, Brittany Lannom, Jennifer Medlin and Chayse Swink. They made it their goal to advocate for a state holiday honoring Jane Addams after discovering there were no state or national holidays honoring women anywhere in the USA (from: The History of Jane Addams Day, A Presentation by Jan Lisa Huttner).
On Dec. 10, 1931, Jane Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace, which primarily honored her work as the founder and leader of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. When the prize was awarded, Halvdan Koht, a prominent Norwegian historian, declared Jane Addams to be “the leading woman in the nation, one might almost say its leading citizen.”
A prolific author and renowned speaker, Jane Addams, along with Ellen Gates Starr established Hull House in 1889, the first settlement house in the United States. The first to come were the children. Small ones, brought there by their mothers for the morning kindergarten a volunteer started–and the older children quickly discovered the social clubs and afternoon classes in the arts. Addams stressed the role of children in the Americanization process of new immigrants, and fostered the play movement and the research and service fields of leisure, youth, and human services. Hull-House featured multiple programs in art and drama, kindergarten classes, boys’ and girls’ clubs, language classes, reading groups, college extension courses, along with public baths, a free-speech atmosphere, a gymnasium, a labor museum and playground. She helped pass the first model tenement code and the first factory laws prohibiting child labor.
“We may either smother the divine fire in youth or we may feed it.”
Jane Addams, The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets
Today, the organizations she helped to found, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom(WILPF), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA) are still fighting for the causes she believed in.
Jane Addams’ story is one that we at the Jane Addams Peace Association are proud to be a small part of with our wonderful books. We continue the legacy of Jane Addams by supporting and advancing the work of the Jane Addams Children’s’ Book Awards, so that her life and accomplishments can be used as a focal point for exploring issues of social justice through children’s literature. We hope that people all across the world will be inspired by Jane Addams and her life, on Dec. 10 and every day.
In celebration of Jane Addams Day, Chicago Film Archives, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and South Side Projections present a celebration of the life and work of Chicago artist and filmmaker Don McIlvaine. Art historian Rebecca Zorach will discuss McIlvaine’s paintings and murals, followed by a screening of films from the Don McIlvaine Collectionhoused at Chicago Film Archives. Join us afterward for a reception with McIlvaine’s family.
More information: http://www.hullhousemuseum.org/upcoming-programs/