Vol. 4, No. 2
February 2017

What does it mean?

On the Internet, blogs, newspapers, radio or TV the word "Resistance" is in your face.

"President Trump, meet the resistance" - USA Today 

TJ Maxx Joins "Anti-Trump" Resistance: Orders Workers To "Discard" Ivanka Trump Signs, Keep Merchandise Separate - Zero Hedge

"Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement" - The Nation
Was the Women's March a form of "resistance"? Commentators certainly thought it was. Chicago Magazine published "Portraits of Resistance at the Women's March on Chicago" and the Chicago Tribune reported "At anti-Trump protests in Chicago, a 'wall of human resistance.' " A wall it was! Just days before organizers had predicted 50,000 people, up from 22,000. In fact, the march was estimated to have drawn 250,000 people, a quarter of a million--with homemade signs announcing their resistance.

In this context, resistance was principally directed at the new president and the policies he promised. Resisters want to prevent the new president from rolling back women's reproductive rights or fair labor practices or LGBTQ rights or regulations that protect the environment.
But what about the people who fought for those rights in the first place? Were they resisters?   WWHP would say they were. They resisted the status quo, whether it was government regulation (or lack thereof) or public opinion or common practices and said, "NO! That's not right. We want a change that will make this world fairer." If we think of resistance in those terms, all the women WWHP has honored over the years were resisters of the first order. In addition to those women resisters WWHP has honored, many of today's resisters are looking to expand rights that have not yet been won, such as paid family leave, a $15-an-hour wage, fully funded child care and more, even as they push back against attempts to dismantle rights that many thought were enshrined.

In this issue of the newsletter we tell the stories of two historical women whom WWHP previously honored, Rev. Addie L. Wyatt and Alice Hamilton, and we let a contemporary woman offer her comments from the Women's March in Chicago.


Rev. Addie L. Wyatt: Fought for All of Us
by Joan McGann Morris
Rev. Addie L. Wyatt (1924- 2012) was a woman of many accomplishments and wore many hats during her lifetime -- daughter, wife, mother, co-pastor, worker, and union activist. She became a renowned leader in the labor, civil rights and women's movements. She fought for all of us, and many of the rights she helped to win are now in jeopardy.

So, what would she have said in light of recent events: the presidential election and subsequent gatherings of resistance in Chicago, Washington and throughout the country?

I believe she would give us the same advice that her mother gave her when Wyatt was only six. Her mother advised her, "Life can be better, but you have to make it so." Wyatt took these words to heart and lived them her whole life. She became an activist fighting against discrimination, fighting for social justice, fair treatment and equality.

Rev. Wyatt's activism started at home in Chicago making her community and neighborhood a better place. Along with her husband, Rev. Dr. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr., she was co-pastor of their church, and became CEO of the Wyatt Family Community Center. She and her husband were staunch supporters of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and from 1958 to 1968 she participated in major marches in Selma, Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Wyatt recalled, "We knew we had to make change and that change was not going to come easy. Some of us would live and some of us would die, as some did."

Wyatt's awareness of discrimination because of race and being a woman began when she joined the work force in Chicago at Armour and Company as a young teenager. "I discovered that this was one of the reasons why we were poor. Racism and sexism was an economic issue. It was very profitable to discriminate against women and against people of color. I began to understand that change could come but you could not do it alone. You had to unite with others. That was one of the reasons I became a part of the union." Wyatt spent thirty years as a leader and officer of the labor movement. She retired in 1984 as Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

In 1966, her activism for women led her to become one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW). "We (women) had to educate ourselves. We had to stir them up and we had to talk to our women about why we were really discriminated against ... It was because we were female and it was profitable to discriminate against somebody." As a member of President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women, Wyatt noted that NOW grew out of a concern that the report on the status of American women would just be shelved and nothing would be done about it. Later, in 1974, to ensure the representation of organized women in the unions, she helped found the Coalition of Labor Union Women. In 1975, Addie Wyatt appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of its Women of the Year. She continued her support for women and all of us for the rest her life.

Reflecting on her life's work, Rev. Wyatt said that participation in the labor movement, women's movement and civil rights movement had "been a great joy.... I don't separate them."

I believe Rev. Wyatt would stand with us now, fighting for all of us.

(You can read more about Rev. Addie L. Wyatt on the Working Women's History Project's website http://wwhpchicago.org/Topics/interviews/ )


Resisting Industrial Hazards and Greed:
Alice Hamilton, Mother of Occupational Health  
by Amy Laiken

In an era when few women became physicians, Dr. Alice Hamilton graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1893. After completing internships at the Minneapolis Hospital for Women and Children and the New England Hospital for Women and Children, she studied bacteriology and pathology at universities in Munich and Leipzig.

Dr. Hamilton moved to Chicago in 1897, where she became a professor of pathology at the Women's Medical School of Northwestern University. She also became a resident of Jane Addams Hull-House, where she treated patients whose illnesses she believed resulted, at least in part, from poor working conditions.

In 1910 she took part in an Illinois commission to study industrial illnesses in the state, conducting research on the health risks posed by substances such as lead, carbon monoxide, phosphorus and benzene that were present in many workplaces during that period. Dr. Hamilton's research was published in 1911 as her Survey of Occupational Diseases. For approximately the next decade, Dr. Hamilton would investigate many issues for state and federal health committees. She visited over 300 workplaces and found dozens of practices that caused workers to be exposed to lead poisoning. For example, in 1912, she visited the Pullman Company of Chicago, where lead was used extensively, and found that nearly a quarter of the workers suffered poisoning. She reported her findings to the head of the company, and changes in its industrial practices followed. By 1913, the incidents of lead poisoning, or plumbism as it was called then, had been reduced to 3 among 639 workers, less than 5%. But Dr. Hamilton's work and advocacy also met with opposition.

According to the Job Safety and Health Quarterly of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, her work was derided as "tainted with socialism or with feminine sentimentality for the poor." Nevertheless, she continued her work as a pioneer in the field of occupational health, resisting practices that jeopardized workers' safety. A strong supporter of the peace movement, she also traveled to Europe with Jane Addams and Emily Belch to push for ending World War I. They founded the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

In 1919, Alice Hamilton left Chicago for an appointment in the Department of Industrial Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the first woman appointed to the faculty there. She was in her sixties when she retired from Harvard and moved to Connecticut, where she died on September 22, 1970 at 101. Three months later, on December 29, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Writing for the PBS News Hour on the 45th anniversary of her death, Dr. Howard Markel wrote of Alice Hamilton:

"Her career hardly ended with these stellar accomplishments; until her death in 1970, Hamilton continued to crusade for the health of all Americans, leaving an indelible, lasting and positive mark on the public's health."

For a review of a reissued autobiography of Alice Hamilton, click on the following link:

Sara Paretsky - Grant Park 
21 January 2017
(Sara Paretsky, American author of detective fiction and
life-long civil rights activist, gave this speech at the Women's March.)
I am almost 70. I have been an activist for Civil Rights and Reproductive Rights since I was 19, and there are days when I am weary with the struggle, but not today, not here, with 250,000 other Americans ready to work together to protect our rights.
I was twenty-five when the Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade. I can still remember the exhilaration of seeing that headline in the old Chicago Daily News.
For a brief, glorious moment, we had forced open a window, allowing us to breathe in freedom: we were no longer children, or chattel animals. Our sexuality was no longer controlled by husbands, fathers, churches, governments: we could decide whether and when to get pregnant. We could decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
Almost instantly furious hands began pushing that window shut. As had happened nine years earlier with the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, those who feared what free African-Americans looked like, those who feared free women, fought back.
The culmination of the war against human rights was celebrated yesterday in our nation's capital.
I stand here today with wildly mixed feelings. It's energizing to see so many people, especially so many young people, gathering to take up the fight for freedom.
At the same time, I am filled with a rage so large that ordinary words don't express it. Not because of the incoming groper-in-chief--although I fear and despise him, he doesn't rouse my fury.
My rage comes from standing here as part of a minority. 58 percent of European-Americans -- 53 percent of women, 62 percent of men -- voted to put this new government in place. I am with the 42 percent who voted for human rights.

Yes, there was Comey, and Putin, and Pizzagate, but they didn't fool African-American (92 percent of voters) or Hispanic (66) or Jewish (77) voters.
58 percent of European Americans voted to defund Planned Parenthood and to privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. 58 percent want everyone to drink the water that has flowed from Flint, Michigan's taps. 58 percent want to deport Mexicans and to bar Muslims from entering our country. 58 percent voted to destabilize the Atlantic alliance, and to re-accelerate the arms race.
58 percent want all women and African-American men to retreat from personhood, back to the status of children or chattel animals.
For over four decades, those of us passionate about our freedoms have been trying to waken our friends and neighbors to the way state, local and national politicians were threatening our rights. Our words and pleas went unheeded. And the result is a Congress, a president, and many state governments bent on destroying the planet and reversing voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights.
Now it is up to us, those of us gathered here in Chicago, those gathered in cities all over the planet, to go once more into battle for our freedoms.
We here are passionate about our Constitution. Our Constitution exists "to promote the general welfare." Not the welfare of the one percent, but every person's welfare. Our Constitution exists "to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
So let us go forth from this park, and from parks all across the nation, to fight again for this country and Constitution that we love. Let us secure the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our posterity. In the words of the two people who will always be my presidents: We are Stronger Together, and YES, WE CAN!!


Addie Wyatt named as a
"Trailblazing Woman in Labor and Business"

WWHP is proud to announce that the National Women's History Project (NWHP) has accepted WWHP's submission of Addie Wyatt as one of the Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business, their theme for 2017. NWHP received submissions from across the country and SELECTED 13 women. The NWHP wrote:

"Facing stark inequalities in the workplace (lower wages, poor working conditions, and limited opportunities), they fought to make the workplace a less hostile environment for women. They succeeded in expanding women's participation in commerce and their power in the paid labor force. As labor and business leaders and innovators they defied the social mores of their times by demonstrating women's ability to create organizations and establish their own businesses that paved the way for better working conditions and wages for themselves and other women."

NWHP was founded in 1980 in Santa Rosa, California, by a group of women whose goal was to put women's accomplishments in front of the American public, especially the children. In 1980, no more than 3% of the content in texts was devoted to women and the only day devoted to women was International Women's Day on March 8th. In 1980 NWHP lobbied Congress to designate the week that included March 8 as National Women's History Week, and in 1987 they successfully campaigned to designate March as Women's History Month.

To read about the women designated as Trailblazers, visit:

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