Thank You, Jane

Fighting for social justice maybe more important than ever. With children at our borders…in crisis. With Veterans roaming the streets (homeless) of the land they fought to protect. With something as simple as, healthcare for all…a silly debate…

With all this, and socialism shouted from the rooftops of aging, life time politicians, where do we turn?

So many quotes on history and how it repeats. How the United States does not learn from her mistakes. Hatred in every corner of every town…red or blue. Again, it is important to look back to see where we need to grow.

It is well to remind ourselves, from time to time, that “Ethics” is but another word for “righteousness,” that for which many men and women of every generation have hungered and thirsted, and without which life becomes meaningless. Jane Addams

So a little history is what I present!

Addams developed three “ethical principles” for social settlements: “to teach by example, to practice cooperation, and to practice social democracy, that is, egalitarian, or democratic, social relations across class lines.”[46] Thus Hull House offered a comprehensive program of civic, cultural, recreational, and educational activities and attracted admiring visitors from all over the world, including William Lyon Mackenzie King, a graduate student from Harvard University who later became prime minister of Canada. In the 1890s Julia Lathrop, Florence Kelley, and other residents of the house made it a world center of social reform activity. Hull House used the latest methodology (pioneering in statistical mapping) to study overcrowding, truancy, typhoid fever, cocaine, children’s reading, newsboys, infant mortality, and midwifery. Starting with efforts to improve the immediate neighborhood, the Hull House group became involved in city- and statewide campaigns for better housing, improvements in public welfare, stricter child-labor laws, and protection of working women. Addams brought in prominent visitors from around the world, and had close links with leading Chicago intellectuals and philanthropists. In 1912, she helped start the new Progressive Party and supported the presidential campaign of Theodore Roosevelt.

Jane spoke, fought for social injustice. She started with conversations on poverty. And, discussed the bias’d idea that the poor simply did not work hard enough (as many were led to believe.) The poor and down trodden were also victims of the state. The state in which they live; genetics, environment, illness, threat.

Why do we view social reform with such disdain? Why is it such a far fetched idea that…all citizens should be treated equally?

I listened to the (below) listed podcast with baited breath. Wondering why had I not known more about Jane Addams and/or her ‘Boston marriage’ to Mary Rozet Smith?

**The fact of relatively formalized romantic friendships or life partnerships between women predates the term Boston marriage and there is a long record of it in England and other European countries.[1] The term Boston marriage became associated with Henry James‘s The Bostonians (1886), a novel involving a long-term co-habiting relationship between two unmarried women, “new women,” although James himself never used the term. James’ sister Alice lived in such a relationship with Katherine Loring and was among his sources for the novel.[2]

There are many examples of women in “Boston marriage” relationships. In the late 1700s, for example, Anglo-Irish upper-class women Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were identified as a couple and nicknamed the Ladies of Llangollen. Elizabeth Mavor suggests that the institution of romantic friendships between women reached a zenith in eighteenth-century England.[1] In the U.S., a prominent example is that of novelist Sarah Orne Jewett and her companion Annie Adams Fields, widow of the editor of The Atlantic Monthly, during the late 1800s.[3]

Why, why, why is not in the best interest of society (centuries ago and/or today) to treat those we live with, eat with, walk amongst, with dignity and respect?