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Women and the emergence of the NAACP.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the oldest and largest existing civil rights organization in the United States. It was formed in 1909 as an association of concerned citizens to fight and correct injustices. The NAACP historically emphasized the importance of guaranteeing citizenship rights for African Americans, including equal protection under the law and suffrage, and focusing on ways to obtain those rights. It provided educational, economic development, and advocacy programs to enhance the lives of African American citizens (Jack, 1943). Today "the NAACP's principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through the democratic processes" (NAACP, 2010). It has been successful, ranking third (of 947) in coverage of social movement organizations by The New York Times in the 20th century (Amenta, Caren, Olasky, & Stobaugh, 2009).

Social workers played an integral part in the development of the NAACP, particularly women in the settlement house movement, yet specific information about their contributions is rarely included in social work texts. Most refer only to Jane Addams (Day, 2006; Jansson, 1997; Popple & Leighninger, 1993; Trattner, 1994), thus ignoring the contributions of many, particularly African American women (Carlton-LaNey, 2001).

The focus of most social work history is on social work education and the development of professionalism. The Charity Organization Society and the settlement house movement, both important, play a large part in the social work literature. However, there are few specifics about social workers' contributions to and links with social movements, including the labor movement, the women's movement, suffrage, immigration, and the civil rights movement for African American freedom during the Progressive Era. If social justice was our heritage then and is our focus now, why are these contributions ignored?

This article discusses the role that women, particularly social workers, played in the emergence of the NAACP. It reports findings of a network analysis of interorganizational efforts between African American and White women and the links between them that contributed to the origin of what has been called one of the most successful organizations in the fight for equality (Aveni, 1978). The author argues that the NAACP emerged because of preexisting links that developed within Progressive Era social movements. The article emphasizes the contributions of social workers to advocacy efforts and emphasizes the importance of this knowledge for students today as they advocate for social justice.


In 1908, a mob lynching near Springfield, Illinois, the hometown of Abraham Lincoln, provided the impetus for a group of civil rights activists to take action on behalf of African Americans. The race riot spanned several days and resulted in the deaths of seven people and the destruction of more than 20 businesses and 40 homes of African American residents. An article titled "Race War in the North," written by William Walling in The Independent, described the riot and urged citizens to come to the aid of African Americans who were being mistreated across the country. Walling (1908) stated,

   Either the spirit of the abolitionists, of Lincoln and of Love-joy,
   must be revived and we must come to treat the Negro on a plane of
   absolute political and social equality, or Vardaman and Tillman
   will soon have transferred the race war to the North. Yet who
   realizes the seriousness of the situation, and what large and
   powerful body of citizens is ready to come to their aid? (p. 503)

Mary White Ovington, a White social worker in New York, wrote to Walling in response to his article and then met him in New York City along with social worker Dr. Henry Moskowitz to determine strategy (Jack, 1943). At the meeting, they decided to request that Oswald Garrison Villard, president of the New York Evening Post Company and editor of The Nation and the New York Evening Post, handle publicity because African Americans had no access to the White media; he also was expected to counteract perceptions that the group was too radical (Davis, 1967; Ovington, 1947). Villard wrote "The Call," a powerful statement about the injustices experienced by African Americans across the country.

"The Call" was released on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Lincoln's birthday, to emphasize the lack of progress toward equality for African Americans and to set in motion a national conference to focus on equality and civil rights for African Americans (Fishel & Quarles, 1967). Sixty people signed "The Call"; 19 were women (shown in bold in Appendix A). Two of those women were African American (Davis, 1967; Jack, 1943; Ovington, 1947). Once "The Call" was published, a committee that included several more social workers began planning the conference. In 1909, at the Henry Street Settlement, more than 300 people met and organized the National Negro Committee, which was renamed the NAACP in 1910 (Ovington, 1947). Social workers continued involvement with the NAACP for decades, serving on its national board and providing financial and political support.


The perspective used to analyze the activity leading to the development of the NAACP is resource mobilization theory, which focuses almost exclusively on social movements (McCarthy & Zald, 1973; Zald & McCarthy, 1987). Its thesis disputes the theory that social movements emerge only in response to crises or social problems. Several resource mobilization theorists (Cress & Snow, 1996; McCarthy & Zald, 1977; Morris, 1984; Rosenthal & Schwartz, 1989) argue that despite the fact that a crisis may be an element in the emergence of a social movement, typically a network of organizations or groups has been established before the precipitating event. It provides structure and resources such as money, a volunteer base, and legitimacy for an effective response to the event and for the development of social movement organizations. This article attempts to demonstrate that this occurred with the NAACP.


In order to demonstrate linkage, the researcher used network analysis, a method of examining and analyzing personal or organizational links. "Network analysis provides a fresh look at activity previously described by historians" (Rosenthal, Fingrutd, Ethier, Karant, & McDonald, 1985, p. 1045). It can validate historical conclusions or indicate areas needing further study and analysis. The author believes it is a means to a broader theoretical interpretation of the emergence of the NAACP. Because social movements that involve civil rights often lack full access to resources enjoyed by mainstream organizations, they may need to align themselves with other movements or movement organizations in order to generate necessary resources. Civil rights leaders or organizers may seek allies to help them bypass traditional routes to introducing their agenda to the larger society; they may form links with others in order to survive (Rosenthal et al., 1985). This study examines and analyzes the variety of links that supported the emergence of the NAACP.

The author hypothesized that the two African American and 17 White women who signed "The Call" had developed prior links that provided support for the emergence of the NAACP. The author identified links by examining the shared organizational membership, social issue involvement, and personal relationships between the women, emphasizing key organizations and relationships that formed networks. Organizations, issues, and affiliations that shared more than two women signers indicate strength of linkage.

Societal Background

The Progressive reform movement between 1900 and 1910 focused on improving government and politics, social conditions, environmental concerns, and labor (Axinn & Levin, 1992). It was "the first sustained reform movement in the United States that addressed a variety of urban issues" (Jansson, 1988, p. 87). There was emphasis on democracy and the involvement of larger numbers of people in the political process. Women's suffrage was of major importance (Axinn & Levin, 1992), as was disenfranchisement of African Americans.

During the Progressive Era many women were college educated yet barred from most professions. A large group of them wanted roles other than homemaker. Settlement work provided the opportunity for them to use their education, particularly in terms of affecting policy, in a supportive and enriching environment (Trattner, 1989). Women used the settlement movement as an opportunity to establish links and become involved in addressing every social issue of the day, despite the sexism and exclusion they faced.

According to Meier (1963), "Negroes were practically omitted from the Progressive Era's program of reform" (p. 165). However, although in many ways African Americans were not direct beneficiaries of the reform movement, their emphasis on equality and the removal of oppressive societal conditions allowed them to organize and garner White support (Jansson, 1988). They developed political links with settlements and other organizations. Some settlement leaders recognized that racism barred African Americans from their full civil rights. In the early 1900s, social worker Lillian Wald (1915) spoke about the difficulties African Americans had to face because employment opportunities were limited and social barriers discouraged optimism and ambition. There were a "few outstanding white pioneers in the fight against racial discrimination" (Trattner, 1974, p. 147), and many of them were settlement social workers, including signers Jane Addams, Lillian Wald, Florence Kelley, and Mary White Ovington.

Early social workers were reformers committed to broad social issues and not just focused on individual practice. The social work profession was a means for liberal Progressive reformers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to come together and address shared concerns about social justice. Because many social work leaders were willing to take action for social change, a cadre of educated yet disaffected people were attracted to them and anxious to join their efforts for change. The profession in many ways was an outlet for people with strong commitments to social justice and the intellectual study and solution of social problems (Karger & Hernandez, 2004).

Settlement workers "became initiators and organizers of reform in the progressive era" (Davis, 1967, p. xi). After Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr established Hull House, they focused their efforts on solving the social and industrial problems in Chicago and fostering democracy, humanitarianism, and racial equality (Addams, 1910; Woods & Kennedy, 1922). Many settlement leaders entered the political arena to advocate for the legislation needed to solve problems their communities faced. These leaders emerged as prominent and successful reformers using their understanding of social problems and the political process on all levels to address issues (Davis, 1967; Trattner, 1989).

Settlement leaders had a major impact on social legislation in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Ten of the women who signed "The Call" were appointed to positions of authority in several different cities and states and were able to influence legislation, Supreme Court decisions, and other policy on a variety of issues. As they gained political power they were able to command resources and financial and political support for a variety of causes (Trattner, 1974), and this was an important component of the emergence of the NAACP. Jane Addams and others argued that African Americans faced a much more difficult situation than immigrant groups because of economic discrimination and housing segregation. Although most settlement workers were not emphasizing the rights of African Americans (Inglehart & Becerra, 2000), those who shared Addams' s belief emphasized community studies to help people understand the nature of racism (Popple & Leighninger, 1993). Settlement workers initiated and funded studies of conditions for African Americans such as W. E. B. DuBois's The Philadelphia Negro (1899) and Mary White Ovington's Half a Man (1911). The information gained was used to promote reform and equality (Davis, 1967).

African American women's achievements are less well documented but deserve greater emphasis when in descriptions of Progressive Era achievements (Carlton-LaNey, 2001; Fishel & Quarles, 1967). In less than 20 years of organizing, they established more than 1,000 clubs involving more than 50,000 women (Giddings, 1984) and were vital to the civil rights movement of the time (Davis, 1981). The two African American women signers of "The Call" were both very active in, and provided leadership to, the club movement that raised money and provided organization and staff to the NAACE At the same time, African American colleges provided education for most African American leaders of the civil rights movement (Bennett, 1982; Giddings, 1984), thus giving legitimacy to their leadership in the White community.

African American women's clubs were inspired somewhat by the success of White women's organizations. However, their emphasis was less on individual issues such as suffrage and more on sharing responsibility in the larger struggle for African American equality and racial improvement. Much of their focus was in the social welfare arena, especially on children and older adults (Meier, 1963). They recognized that their fate was tied to that of all African Americans, so it was in their best interest to provide support, health care, and child care. The clubs also focused on education, creating women's schools, raising money for scholarships for women, and working to improve public education for children "from kindergarten to university" (Scott, 1991, p. 149).

Signers of "The Call"

Two of the 19 women who signed "The Call" were African American. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was one of the most prominent African American leaders during this period. When she exposed the poor conditions in African American schools while teaching, she was fired. She then moved into full-time journalism. In 1892, when three of her friends who were successful businessmen were lynched in Memphis, she began a crusade against lynching that had far-reaching effects and influenced the NAACP's ongoing focus on lynching. Wells-Barnett was also a strong supporter of women' s suffrage (Davis, 1981).

Mary Church Terrell, the third African American woman ever to graduate from college, was the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, developed to promote the value and worth of African American women (Giddings, 1984; Jones, 1982). "More than anyone else, Mary Church Terrell was the driving force that molded the Black women's club movement into a powerful political group" (Davis, 1981, p. 135). Terrell studied abroad and moved in political circles, counting Jane Addams and Susan B. Anthony as friends partly because of her work in the suffrage movement (Davis, 1981; Jones, 1982).

Twelve of the White signers, including Jane Addams, Kate Claghorn, Mary Dreier, Florence Kelley, Helen Marot, Mary McDowell, Leonora O'Reilly, Mary White Ovington, Jane Robbins, Lillian Wald, Susan Wharton, and Mary Woolley, were settlement workers in several different major cities. Other White signers included suffragists Harriet Stanton Blatch and Anna Garlin Spencer. Jane Addams, Kate Claghorn, Florence Kelley, Mary White Ovington, and Lillian Wald were authors whose writings had a great impact on the era. Ida Wells-Barnett and Anna Garlin Spencer were journalists with media access. Philanthropists, including Kate Claghorn, Mary Dreier, Helen Stokes, Fanny Villard, and Susan Wharton, had power and money to support the cause. Mary McDowell, Anna Garlin Spencer, Lillian Wald, and Mary Woolley were all college professors or lecturers, and Woolley was also a college president. The women signers, both African American and White, had power and presence and the means with which to make their causes known. They also were involved in several social movements of the era and often interacted within organizations representing those movements (see Table 1).


The results indicate that most of the women had interpersonal contacts and friendships as well as informal and formal ties to other women with power at the time. The most apparent indicator of linkage between the women signers of "The Call" is the settlement movement. Besides the fact that the three original organizers of "The Call," Henry Moskowitz, Mary White Ovington, and William Walling, were settlement workers, 13 of the 19 women signers were settlement residents or volunteers, many linked to more than one settlement.

The national network of settlements included several different women's organizations, inter-settlement dances and activities, and National Conference on Charities and Corrections meetings. The settlement signers were catalysts for social action (Davis, 1967), often promoting racial harmony and social justice and involving large numbers of people in their effort. Five of the women were Hull House volunteers, a significant area of linkage within the settlement movement. Meetings related to labor, suffrage, civil rights, and other issues were held at Hull House, and it was known as a center of activism (Woods & Kennedy, 1922). According to Bryan and Davis (1990), Hull House workers were leaders in an extensive assortment of reform movements in Chicago and in the nation; Hull House residents and Hull House alumnae were involved in most reform organizations. They had power that spread throughout the United States.

Jane Addams (1910) wrote that Americans disliked hearing that the United States was "divided into two nations" (p. 45), but she believed that people had to be concerned about the inequality that existed in this country. Her compassion for and sensitivity to immigrants was also evident in her work with African Americans. "She did not entirely avoid the racist attitudes of her day, but came closer to overcoming them than most other reformers" (Davis, 1973, p. 129). She worked with Ida Wells-Barnett to develop the Wendell Phillips Settlement, one of few that was integrated. She worked to have African American women's clubs included in White groups, and as part of that effort she invited the National Association of Colored Women to Hull House (Bryan & Davis, 1969; Davis, 1973).

Literature about Jane Addams's life and activities indicates specific links with every woman signer through specific organizations and issues. Scott (1991) described Jane Addams's network as linked with every national progressive individual or organization concerned with reform. Flexner (1975) stated that her organizing ability drew "a galaxy of talented women" (p. 215). She established Hull House. She was active in labor issues and suffrage. She met at Atlanta University annually to discuss the problems of African Americans in the South. She had strong personal relationships with many of the signers. At various times, she was a speaker for most of the organizations to which other signers belonged (Addams, 1910; Bryan & Davis, 1990; Scott, 1991) and was a key figure in promoting the reform agenda of the signers of "The Call."

Eight of the women signers were actively involved in the civil rights movement that emphasized voting rights, equality, and support for African Americans. Five were involved in organizations that supported free immigration and protested restrictions on specific groups such as the Chinese. Sixteen were active in suffrage activities and organizations.

Thirteen signers were active in labor activities promoting labor reform, supporting strikes, providing strong leadership, and developing organizations such as the Women's Trade Union League, the Consumers' League, and the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women. Of those 13, most were settlement workers. Hull House was considered to be a center for labor activities (Boone, 1942; Davis, 1967; Woods & Kennedy, 1922). Unions often met at settlements, and strikers received aid in them. Settlement workers obtained legislation curtailing child labor and controlling hours of work for women (Bryan & Davis, 1990; Kenneally, 1978), and they were instrumental in the establishment of, and provided leadership to, the Federal Children's Bureau in 1912. Many of the settlement workers obtained power in city and state government, and through it they enacted their reform agenda. They were appointed or elected to commissions, boards, and committees to study social issues and recommend solutions. Many of their recommendations became policy or led to state and federal legislation. Lillian Wald, Florence Kelley, Mary Dreier, and Jane Robbins often lobbied in Albany, New York, and others lobbied in Illinois for their reform agenda (Woods & Kennedy, 1922).

Linkage occurred within organizations related to the social movements of the time; there are more than 20 social movement organizations with at least two women signers in common (see Appendix B). Beyond organizational memberships, many signers were invited to address meetings of other organizations (Addams, 1910; Bryan & Davis, 1990; Woods & Kennedy, 1922) so that informal links were established.

There were personal relationships that led to interaction between the women signers of "The Call," and in many cases there were generational links to abolition, labor, and suffrage activities. Fanny Villard was the daughter of famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Jane Addams, Mary White Ovington, Mary McDowell, Harriet Blatch, Anna Garlin Spencer, and Florence Kelley all had parents who were abolitionists. Harriet Blatch was the daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the famous suffragist, and Florence Kelley's father was a suffragist as well (Who Was Who in America, 1943). Many settlement workers remained friends when they moved on to other settlements. Several reform campaigns led to friendships as signers marched in protest together and worked for issue-related organizations, often in the same buildings. Because they shared commitment to many of the same issues, they often attended activities and organizational meetings together. The personal links between the signers often developed into or contributed to organizational links.


Snow, Zurcher, and Ekland-Olson (1980) argue that social networks are important to movement recruitment, particularly if there are preexisting interpersonal links. This was true of the civil rights movement and the signers of "The Call." An important task for social movement leaders is to develop effective links with other leaders and organizations to promote their agendas. The political links between African American and White women who signed "The Call" were already in place when the Springfield riot occurred; their subsequent joint efforts led to the emergence of the NAACP.

Hasenfeld and Tropman (1977) argue that "the survival and effectiveness of the organization is predicated on its ability to articulate with its environment and occupy a vital niche in it" (p. 269). In order to do that, the organization must be able to find and effectively use the resources available in that environment. The women who signed "The Call" were skilled in organization and the use of the media to generate large-scale support. Their history of reform activities around a variety of causes led them to use many of the same tactics as other social movements of the time, supporting the concept of preexisting resources that can be mobilized when necessary (McCarthy & Zald, 1977). The findings of this research also support Morris's (1984) argument that "the presence of preexisting networks and groups ... allows a movement to emerge" (p. 55).

Many of the women who got involved in the civil rights movement did so because of interpersonal contacts and friendships that supported their concern for equality. African American and White women's ability to articulate links with each other through other social movements promoted the survival of the NAACP. The political links they developed were also in place when the crisis in Springfield occurred. Even though African Americans often were not invited to policymaking meetings, their opinions were solicited informally (Hunter, 1963). Throughout the era under study, there are many instances of White women excluding African American women from their organizations (e.g., women's clubs) yet providing strong support for separate ones.

The NAACP is an example of how linkage can lead to organizational success. Understanding the problems faced by the original founders of the NAACP, evaluating the process of organization, and analyzing the process from a theoretical perspective provides insight into the struggles of voluntary agencies today. The issues reflect the clash between African Americans and Whites and the racist value system of the Progressive Era that permeated the thinking of the original White leadership of the NAACP (Alvarez, 1971; DuBois, 1968; Ovington, 1947; Wald, 1915). However, the literature also provides insights into issues affecting interorganizational linkage and strategies for successful interaction. It demonstrates that there was a shared value system among White and African American settlement workers, reformers, and leaders that emphasized social justice and included equality, peace, and the importance of providing mechanisms that allow a sense of community to develop among disenfranchised and oppressed groups.


The role of women in the emergence of the NAACP warrants further study. Although this study focuses only on women who signed "The Call," throughout the civil rights movement of the Progressive Era and the other movements that linked with it, many other women contributed. They served as journalists and clergy, political leaders and philanthropists. Many had extensive settlement movement experience and were able to support and often fund the fight against racial discrimination (Trattner, 1974). More analysis of the contributions of women and particularly social workers would strengthen the knowledge base about their contributions. There are also many more links that can be studied to determine women's contributions to other areas of social change.

It is also important to emphasize the role of African American women during the Progressive Era. Their contributions to the NAACP are documented, but they are often excluded from other discussions of the social movements of the era (Carlton-LaNey, 2001).

Women helped establish the NAACE A woman was the catalyst for its emergence. Women helped generate the support necessary for its development. Women helped provide societal sanction for the emergence of the NAACR The major contributions of the women signers were organizational skills, political power, and legitimacy. They were vital to generating support necessary for the successful development of the NAACE Women also staffed the NAACP offices for years after its emergence. Ovington (1947) commented that the competence of the African American women running the NAACP offices reflected the commitment and effort women put into the NAACR yet this effort has not been given the attention it deserves.

Implications for Social Work Education

The role of women, particularly settlement leaders, is vital to the history of social work, yet little mention is made in the social work literature about the contributions of women to the emergence of the NAACP. Social workers were public figures instrumental in the development of policy that affected children's rights, labor, civil rights, immigration, and women's rights during the Progressive Era (Karger & Hemandez, 2004), and they knew how to organize, network, and effect change.

Teaching about social work's legacy of reform, its commitment to equality and social justice gained from the social movements of the Progressive Era, particularly the development of the NAACP, and the importance of developing links outside traditional organizations can facilitate students' understanding of how social change can occur. This is especially important because so few details about such contributions by social workers are included in social work literature.

Inglehart and Becerra (2000) argue that much of the social work literature about the Progressive Era either romanticizes the reform efforts of social workers or hides their inherent racism and exclusion of African Americans from services. Despite that truth, this analysis still can provide insight into the issues voluntary agencies face today. It concludes that there are strategies for successful interaction despite clashes between races or genders and that willingness to compromise can help overcome racial differences and establish relationships. It also reinforces the power of coalitions to affect the policy process.

The value struggles and conflicts women encountered as they developed and became involved in the ongoing leadership of the NAACP reflect the segregated and racially divisive times of the early 1900s. Many conflicts faced today in working with oppressed populations mirror that time. The story of the emergence of the NAACP demonstrates the importance of respect for cultural and gender differences. Respect is a crucial component of effective organizing, but the past 100 years have confirmed that it is a challenging task to eliminate racism and sexism, particularly when Whites tend to want African Americans and women to remain dependent or to conform to the norms of the larger society (Marable, 1983).


The Progressive Era is key to the emergence of social work as a profession, yet social workers often disregard the political power acquired during this important era, particularly as it affected people of color. Women generated a legacy of reform that can be applied to advocacy efforts today. Teaching about this legacy of reform and commitment to social change may help educators regain a sense of the original mission of the profession (Karger & Hernandez, 2004). Social work students, most of whom are women, can learn how commitment to equality and social justice can lead to major social change even within the restrictions of sexism and segregation. As social workers face cultural divisiveness globally, a sense of history and awareness of intercultural advocacy efforts can help students apply lessons learned to their practice. This is an important and exciting heritage.

DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2013.796809


A Lincoln Emancipation Conference

To Discuss Means for Securing Political and Civil Equality for the Negro

February 12, 1909

The celebration of the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, widespread and grateful as it may be, will fail to justify itself if it takes no note and makes no recognition of the colored men and women to whom the great emancipator labored to assure freedom. Besides a day of rejoicing, Lincoln's birthday in 1909 should be one of taking stock of the nation's progress since 1865. How far has it gone in assuring to each and every citizen, irrespective of color, the equality of opportunity and equality before the law, which underlie our American institutions and are guaranteed by the Constitution?

If Mr. Lincoln could revisit this country he would be disheartened by the nation's failure in this respect. He would learn that on January 1st, 1909, Georgia had rounded out a new oligarchy by disenfranchising the Negro after the manner of all the other Southern states. He would learn that the Supreme Court of the United States, designed to be a bulwark of American liberties, had failed to meet several opportunities to pass squarely upon this disenfranchisement of millions by laws avowedly discriminatory and openly enforced in such a manner that white men may vote and black men be without a vote in their government; he would discover, there, that taxation without representation is the lot of millions of wealth-producing American citizens, in whose hands rests the economic progress and welfare of an entire section of the country. He would learn that the Supreme Court, according to the official statement of one of its own judges in the Berea College case, has laid down the principle that if an individual state chooses it may "make it a crime for white and colored persons to frequent the same market place at the same time, or appear in an assemblage of citizens convened to consider questions of a public or political nature in which all citizens, without regard to race, are equally interested." In many states Lincoln would find justice enforced, if at all, by judges elected by one element in a community to pass upon the liberties and lives of another. He would see the black men and women, for whose freedom a hundred thousand soldiers gave their lives, set apart in trains, in which they pay first-class fares for third-class service, in railway stations and in places of entertainment, while state after state declines to do its elementary duty in preparing the negro through education for the best exercise of citizenship.

Added to this, the spread of lawless attacks on the negro, North, South and West--even in the Springfield made famous by Lincoln---often accompanied by revolting brutalities, sparing neither sex, nor age nor youth, could not but shock the author of the sentiment that "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Silence under these conditions means tacit approval. The indifference of the North is already responsible for more than one assault upon democracy, and every such attack reacts as unfavorably upon whites as upon blacks. Discrimination once already responsible for more than one assault upon democracy, and every such permitted cannot be bridled; recent history in the South shows that in forging chains for the Negroes, the white voters are forging chains for themselves. "A house divided against itself cannot stand," this government cannot exist half slave and half free any better today than it could in 1861. Hence we call upon all the believers in democracy to join in a national conference for the discussion of present evils, the voicing of protests, and the renewal of the struggle for civil and political liberty.

Jane Addams, Chicago

Ray Stannard Baker, New York

Harriet Stanton Blatch, New York

Samuel Bowles, Springfield, IL

W. L. Bulkley, New York

Kate Claghorn, New York

E. H. Clement, Boston

John Dewey, New York

Mary E. Dreier, Brooklyn

W. E. B. DuBois, Atlanta

John L. Elliot, New York

William Lloyd Garrison, Boston

Francis J. Grimke, Washington, DC

Thomas C. Hall, New York

Emil G. Hirsch, Chicago

John Haynes Holmes, New York

Hamilton Holt, New York

William Dean Howells, New York

Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Chicago

Florence Kelley, New York

Walter Laidlaw, New York

Frederick Lynch, New York

Helen Marot, New York

Mary E. McDowell, Chicago

J. G. Merrill, Connecticut

John E. Milholland, New York

Henry Moskowitz, New York

Leonora O'Reilly, New York

Mary White Ovington, New York

Charles H. Parkhurst, New York

John P. Peters, New York

J. G. Phelps Stokes, New York

Louis E Post, Chicago

Jane Robbins, New York

Charles Edward Russell, New York

William M. Salter, Chicago

Joseph Smith, Boston

Anna Garlin Spencer, New York

Wendell P. Stafford, Washington

Lincoln Steffens, Boston

Helen Stokes, New York

Mary Church Terrell, Washington, DC

W. I. Thomas, Chicago

Charles F. Thwing, Ohio

Oswald Garrison Villard, New York

Fanny Villard (Mrs. Henry), New York

Lillian D. Wald, New York

J. Milton Waldron, Washington, DC

William English Walling, New York

Alexander Walters, New York

William Ward, New York

Ida Wells-Barnett, Chicago

Mrs. Rodman Wharton, Unknown

Susan Wharton, Philadelphia

Horace White, New York

Brand Whitlock, Toledo

Stephen S. Wise, New York

Mary E. Woolley, Boston

M. St. Croix Wright, New York

Charles Zueblin, Boston


The following SMOs have at least two signers in common.


Immigration Protection League


American Association for Labor Legislation

Equality League of Self-Supporting Women

Maud Gonne Club

National Child Labor Committee

Social Reform Club

Women's Wage-Earner Society

Working Women's Protective Society

Civil Rights

National Association of Colored Women

Society for an Ethical Culture

Woman's Loyal Union


Association of Settlement Women's Clubs

College Settlement Association

National Federation of Settlements


Consumers' League

Intercollegiate Socialist Society

Socialist Party


Alpha Suffrage Club

Illinois Equal Suffrage Association

National American Woman's Suffrage Association

National Collegiate Women's Equal Suffrage League

New York Suffrage League

W. C. Garrison Equal Suffrage Club


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Accepted: October 2011

Linda S. Moore is professor at Texas Christian University.

Address correspondence to Linda S. Moore, Texas Christian University, Department of Social Work, TCU Box 298750, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA. E-mail:

Linkage Matrix for Women Signers of "The Call"

                                   Social Movement

                          IM    LA    NI    CR    SH    SO

Jane Addams                X     X     X     X     X     X
Harriet Stanton Blatch           X                       X
Kate Claghorn              X
Mary E. Dreier                   X                 X     X
Florence Kelley                  X                 X     X
Helen Marot                      X                 X     X
Mary E. McDowell           X     X           X     X     X
Leonora O'Reilly                 X                       X
Mary White Ovington        X     X     X     X     X     X
Jane Robbins                     X           X     X
Anna Garlin Spencer              X
Helen Stokes                     X
Mary Church Terrell              X           X
Fanny Villard                                X
Lillian D. Wald            X     X           X     X     X
Ida Wells-Bamett                       X     X     X
Mrs. Rodman Wharton
Susan Wharton                                X     X
Mary E. Woolley                  X

                                    Social Movement

                          SU    WC    CL    EL    IP    NA

Jane Addams                X     X
Harriet Stanton Blatch     X           X     X           X
Kate Claghorn              X                 X
Mary E. Dreier             X
Florence Kelley            X     X     X
Helen Marot                X
Mary E. McDowell           X     X                 X
Leonora O'Reilly           X           X     X           X
Mary White Ovington        X                       X
Jane Robbins
Anna Garlin Spencer        X     X                       X
Helen Stokes               X
Mary Church Terrell        X     X                 X
Fanny Villard              X     X                       X
Lillian D. Wald            X                       X
Ida Wells-Bamett           X     X                       X
Mrs. Rodman Wharton
Susan Wharton              X     X
Mary E. Woolley            X                             X

                          Social Movement

                          NC    SA    WT

Jane Addams                X     X     X
Harriet Stanton Blatch
Kate Claghorn
Mary E. Dreier                         X
Florence Kelley            X     X     X
Helen Marot                X     X     X
Mary E. McDowell                 X     X
Leonora O'Reilly
Mary White Ovington        X           X
Jane Robbins                     X
Anna Garlin Spencer
Helen Stokes
Mary Church Terrell
Fanny Villard
Lillian D. Wald                        X
Ida Wells-Bamett
Mrs. Rodman Wharton
Susan Wharton                    X
Mary E. Woolley                  X

Note. CL = Consumer League; CR = civil rights; EL = Equality League
of Self-Supporting Women; IM = immigration; IP = Immigration
Protection League; LA = labor; NA = National American Women
Suffrage Association; NC = National Child Labor Committee; NI =
Niagara; SA = settlement associations; SH = settlement; SO =
socialism; SU = suffrage; WC = Women's Club; WT = Women's Trade
Union League.
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Author:Moore, Linda S.
Publication:Journal of Social Work Education
Date:Jun 22, 2013
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