Nov 17th 2020

Who gets to be a citizen? How did debates in Chicago around voting, lynching and women’s rights break down across racial lines? How do we think about these divisions today, and why are they relevant? This session will focus on three significant Chicago-based women activists who were connected in their reform work, but who encountered difficulties in finding common ground. Ida B. Wells, Frances Willard and Jane Addams each worked to expand women’s rights and influence. However, they had significant disagreements in their approaches informed by their differing views about the impact of race and racism. The panel discussion will focus on the historical breakdowns in feminism and race for Willard and Addams, and tell the story of Wells’ efforts to hold them each accountable. We will also explore the contemporary resonance of these debates in current movements.

Featuring author Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of journalist and anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells, historian and author Rima Lunin Schultz, Jennifer Scott, Director and Chief Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Leslie Harris, Professor, department of history, Northwestern University and Lori Osborne, Museum Director, Frances Willard House Museum.

A partnership between Frances Willard House, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and the history department at Northwestern University in commemoration of the 2020 Suffrage Centennial. Other supporters for this program include: Norman W. Harris Lecture Fund, NU; Department of African American Studies, NU; and The Nicholas D. Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, NU.

This event is also presented in partnership with the Reaching Across Illinois Library System, Aurora Public Library, Gail Borden Public Library, and Schaumburg Township District Library.

This program supports Jane Adams Hull-House Museum’s current exhibitions that commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2020 of women’s right to vote: Why Women Should Vote and True Peace: the Presence of Justice (September 19, 2019 – May 31, 2020).


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