Volume 9, No. 1 – January 2022
In this issue
• WWHP Celebrates 25th Anniversary (Part 2)

• Name Change Proposed For a North Side Park to Honor Prominent Family 
WWHP Celebrates 25th Anniversary (Part 2)  
In this issue, we have our second and final installment of the retrospective of WWHP's previous years from our 20th through our 25th anniversary.
2018: Radical Ideas! Women and the Vote!
The play written by Mary Bonnett of Her Story Theater and originally performed in 2013 was performed three afternoons in 2018 at DANK Haus, the German American Cultural Center in Chicago. Each performance was followed by a panel discussing the importance of the vote. Event co-sponsors were the League of Women Voters, Chicago branch, Her Story Theater, and DANK Haus.
(l to r) WWHP board member Alma Washington; Connie Foster; WWHP board member Brigid Duffy Gerace; and Paul Odell
Moderator: Sally Duros (standing), Chicago Women Take Action. Panelists (l to r): Maureen Forte, Southside Community Activists; Tara Stamps, CTU activist; Celina Villanueva, then with Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and currently State Senator; and Kristina Zahorik, State Central Committeewoman for the 14th Congressional District.
2017: Our Archives
We marked 2017 by donating 20 years of our papers to Special Collections at the Richard J. Daley Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and participating in several events to commemorate Mother Jones. We also co-sponsored a book launch of Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America, by then-WWHP board member Emily E. LB.Twarog.
WWHP officers and board members donating papers to Special Collections at UIC. 
Alma Washington holds a document. 
Brigid Duffy Gerace as Mother Jones, Autumn Guillotte, who led a tour celebrating Mother Jones. 
Wreath laying, hosted by the Mother Jones Heritage Project and co-hosted by WWHP and the Irish American Heritage Center. Brigid Duffy Gerace lays the wreath with the Consul General of the Irish Consulate General of Ireland. 
Then-board member Margaret Fulkerson at a May Day celebration at the Mother Jones Museum in Mt. Olive.
2016: Never Too Late: A Glimpse into the Life and Legacy of Ethel Percy Andrus
In 2016, we produced a play, titled, "Never Too Late: A Glimpse Into the Life and Legacy of Ethel Percy Andrus," an original work by M.T. Cozzola, based on the life of the founder of the National Retired Teachers Association and AARP. The event was co-sponsored by AARP, and was followed by a panel discussion moderated by WWHP Vice President Helen Ramirez-Odell.     
(l to r): Alma Washington; Connie Foster; Brigid Duffy Gerace; and Paul Odell.
Helen Ramirez-Odell
(l to r): M.T. Cozzola, playwright with Brigid Duffy Gerace
(l to r): Lily Liu, former AARP archivist; Jackie Kirley, then-President and current board member; and Ruby Haughton-Pitts, member, AARP Illinois Executive Council.
In the same year, "Handle With Care," a play by Tracy Walsh of Lookingglass Theatre,  based on interviews WWHP conducted with parents and child care providers, was presented three times in Chicago. It premiered in April upstairs at Lookingglass Theatre itself, and then WWHP presented it in July at Good City in Austin for Austin Coming Together and again at Third Unitarian Church (TUC) in Austin in October.
Audience members at Good City in Austin.
Betty Harris from the Committee on Child Care at TUC
Actors (l to r): Wendy Matteo and Ericka Ratcliff
Post-performance panel (l to r): Andy White, moderator, with Lilliam Perez, John Lloyd and Betty Buckman.
Also in 2016, Arleen Prairie, who worked with WWHP's Committee on Child Care, created a short documentary film, "Taking a Closer Look at Child Care." 
Growing Support to Change Park’s Name to Honor the Pollard Family, the First Black family in Rogers Park         

by Sue Straus
Recently there has been campaign to rename Paschen Park to honor the Pollard Family. According to an article by Joe Ward published on, Nov 11, 2021 on the Block Club website, “The Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society — along with the current owners of the Pollard home — are asking the Park District to rename Paschen Park, 1932 W. Lunt Ave., to Pollard Family Park.”

“They’re an inspiration to all,” said Dona Vitale, treasurer of the historical society. “These accomplishments would be special for anybody, but to do it under the circumstance they did? The Pollards deserve recognition. We think the time has come.”
The Pollard House, 1928 W. Lunt Ave., in Rogers Park on November 9, 2021. The current owners, McGurn and Mink commissioned a plaque honoring the Pollards to be put in the front yard of their house, so passersby could see. Photo by Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Photo by Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Pollards lived in the home next to the park for over 60 years. The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society’s website reported that they, the historical society Alderwoman Maria Hadden and the current owners of the Pollard home have come together to support the renaming of the park for the Pollard family.

The home had been owned by the Pollard family for 6 decades. The park sits next to their home. Currently the park is named after a building commissioner, Christian Paschen, who had been convicted and jailed for tax evasion, and other than helping obtain the land for the park, didn’t seem to have any connection to the neighborhood. However, the connection of the Pollard Family to Rogers Park is strong and impressive. The Pollard family are an example of a strong Black family who thrived against the odds.  

The family included mother Catherine Amanda Hughes and father John William Pollard, who had high expectations for themselves and their children. Their children did not disappoint.  

John Pollard was born to free blacks in Virginia and sent to Kansas to keep him safe from kidnappers. He later moved to Missouri where he met his wife, Catherine Amanda Hughes, sometimes referred to as Amanda.  He served as one of the first black soldiers during the Civil War, and became a barber. Then the family moved to Chicago to flee the “Jim Crow Laws” which had taken hold in Missouri. In Chicago they also faced racism.  They settled in Rogers Park where they lived and became longtime residents.  John Pollard operated a barber shop in the community, and Amanda Pollard ran a seamstress business. According to Frank Foster, author of "Breaking the Color Barrier: The Story of the First African American NFL Head Coach, Frederick Douglass 'Fritz' Pollard," whose work is cited on dnainfo, one of her clients was Marshall Field’s. 

The Pollards eldest daughter, Artissmisia (sometimes spelled “Artemesia”, and known as “Artie”) attended Brown University and earned a degree in nursing. Just like her parents, she had her own business and became the first Black Registered Nurse in Illinois. Being the oldest and having success, Artemesia put pressure on her siblings to also do well. Her siblings included Luther Jay PollardNaomi Willie (Pollard) DobsonLeslie Lawrence PollardRuth Pollard and Frederick Douglass Pollard.

And, they all were successful in their chosen fields. Artie’s sisters included Willie Naomi, who was the first Black woman to graduate from Northwestern. She became the head librarian at Wilburforce University in Ohio. Another sister, Ruth was a star athlete, but died young. One of Artie’s brothers was Leslie, who became a star athlete who helped break racial barriers while at Dartmouth. Leslie helped the youngest, and perhaps best-known of the siblings, Frederick Douglass “Fritz”, who became a pro football player and coach and has been inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. All of the Pollard children succeeded in their chosen fields and stand as a fine example of a family who succeeded despite the odds. Specifically, the working women in the family broke through gender as well as racial barriers in pursuit of their careers and in their success in them. 
For more information see:

The site has pictures of the family, the home and current owners who took it upon themselves to erect a plaque in front of their home.

If you wish to sign a petition in support of renaming Paschen Park to honor the Pollard family, please go to the website of  The Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society Historical Society and use this link:

Working Women's History Project

Please contact us through Amy Laiken