13 May 2007

Mother's Day Hot Flash

This one's from Mom...



Mother's Day in the United States was first established around 1870 by Julia Ward Howe who organized a Mother's Day peace march in Boston. In her Mother's Day Proclamation, Howe called on women to support pacifism and disarmament each year nationally. Read the original Mother’s Day Proclamation

When it was created, Mother's Day was an occasion for women to march for peace and to stage public anti-war protests. Feminists in decades since have followed in Howe's footsteps. For example, in May 1982, northern California saw a gathering of Mother's Day activists launch a protest campaign against the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory which designs and develops nuclear weapons. The protest escalated and today there continues to be people outside the gates at Livermore.

For the complete article by Louise Bernikow, The Shoulders We Stand On: Women as Agents of Change visit the Women’s Enews website

Global historical perspectives on Mother’s Day Celebrations:

Mother's Day Central
Holidays Net
Women's History


Mother Ann Lee
Ann Lee was born in Manchester, England, in 1736, the daughter of a blacksmith. A religious mystic, she believed in celibacy, but married at the urging of her parents. She gave birth to four children, all of whom died in infancy. She later experienced a mystical revelation that led her to seek divine perfection and to found a new religious group whose members became known as Shaking Quakers or Shakers. In 1774, she led a small group of Shakers to New York to settle as a community of believers. Her husband left her, and she became known as Mother Ann Lee, teaching celibacy, sobriety, hard work, and careful attention to craft and simple beauty. Mother Ann Lee died in Watervliet, New York, in 1784, but her followers established two communities in Kentucky, at Pleasant Hill and South Union.

Mother Jones:
Born in Cork, Ireland, in 1837, Mary Harris migrated with her family to Canada. After finishing school, she moved to Memphis and married George Jones, an iron molder. In one week in 1867, her husband and all four children died of yellow fever. She moved to Chicago and worked as a seamstress but lost everything in the Great Fire of 1871. After that, Mary Jones took working people for her family. She traveled across the United States speaking to labor union members, who called her “Mother.” Twice, she organized “children’s crusades” to protest against child labor and in favor of better wages for mothers and fathers. A West Virginia District Attorney called her “the most dangerous woman in America,” and a U.S. Senator said she was the “grandmother of all agitators.” Mother Jones answered that she hoped to become the great grandmother of agitators, too. She died in 1930 and is buried in the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive, in the coalfields of southern Illinois.

Josephine Baker
Freda Josephine McDonald was born in St. Louis, Missouri. After surviving the 1917 riots she ran away at the age of 13 and began dancing in vaudeville and on Broadway. Virtually an instant hit, Josephine Baker became one of the best-known entertainers in both France and much of Europe. During World War II she worked with the Red Cross, gathered intelligence for the French Resistance and entertained troops in Africa and the Middle East. After the war, Josephine Baker adopted twelve children from around the world, making her home a World Village. She returned to the stage in the 1950s to finance this project.

In 1951, Josephine Baker was refused service at the famous Stork Club in New York City. Josephine Baker responded by crusading for racial equality, refusing to entertain in any club or theater that was not integrated, and thereby breaking the color bar at many establishments. In 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mother Teresa
Born in 1910 in what is now Macedonia, Agnes Bojaxhiu went to India to teach in an open air school in 1929. She became a nun in 1931 and took the name Teresa, the patron saint of missionaries. She continued to teach until 1948, when she left the convent to live among the poor. In 1950, she established the Missionaries of Charity to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the lepers, and all those people who felt unwanted, unloved, and uncared for throughout society.” In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to world peace.” When she died in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity numbered over 4,000 sisters and 300 brothers, operating 610 centers in 123 countries.

Find out more about famous mothers, including Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of women’s rights and grandmother of Frankenstein.

Spiritual Mother Figures:

Ala, Earth Mother: Nigeria

Al-Lat, The Mother facet connected with the Earth: Islamic

Asherah, The Nursing Goddess of the Israelites: Jewish

Danu,The Great Mother: Celtic

Demeter,The Earth Goddess: Greek

Devi, The Great Goddess: India

Kuan Yin, Goddess of Compassion: Chinese

Mami Wata, Mother of the Sea: Ghana

Maia, The Great Mother: Greek

Selu, The Corn Mother: Cherokee Tradition

Tara, The Mother of Liberation: Buddism

Tonantzin, The Lunar Mother: Astec

Virgin Mary, The Mother of Jesus: Christian

Yemoja, Great Mother Creator: Yoruba

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