Speech on Woman Suffrage, March 9, 1914




Notable Woman Says the Child Labor Laws Would Be Changed.

"Alabama women most likely would use their first vote for the abolition of child slavery, for conditions in this State would necessitate their immediate attention,” declared Jane Addams, internationally known as the beloved founder of Hull House. She arrived in Birmingham at 11 o’clock Monday morning.

“Unquestionably, women will use their ballots for better laws affecting children. This has been so in every other State where the franchise has been given them, and in Alabama I should think the women would alter materially the present laws in effect here.

“But I am not here this time so much in behalf of better children’s laws as for the cause of the enfranchisement of your Alabama women. Give them the power of making their laws through the ballot box, and they will take care of the children and all other phases of reform legislation, for that matter.”

Miss Addams expressed pleasure at finding the weather so sunny and bright here, as she walked from the Terminal Station to the sidewalk to pose for the moving picture man. He represented the Animated Weekly, and caught Miss Addams surrounded by the other members of the Executive Committee, as well as the local leaders. The greeting between this distinguished woman and her associate national officers in the station was very human and feminine.

“You angel, to come with your cold bothering you,” said Mrs. Laidlaw, affection shining from her eyes. Mrs. Dennett and Miss Ruutz Rees also pressed close to her side to voice their gladness at her coming.

“How is Dr. Shaw?”

“How is Dr. Shaw?” was Miss Addams’s first query of those national officers who had come directly from the President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Miss Addams, as First Vice-President of this body, has been identified closely with Dr. Shaw, and her solicitude for her coworker was apparent.

“She is progressing nicely and feeling a little wretched in her mind about not being able to join you here,” was the assurance given Miss Addams from headquarters.

Mrs. Joseph Bowen, who was to have come from Asheville with Miss Addams was suffering from a severe cold and had to remain there. With Miss Addams’s arrival the quorum of the National Executive Committee was completed, so that business transacted here will be official.

Miss Addams appears very much as she did on the occasion of her former visit to Birmingham with the National Child Labor Committee. Simply attired and her graying hair gathered into a loose coil at the back of her neck, this venerable woman was distinctly one of the plain people whom she champions, and the essence of American naturalness. She is to stay at the Hillman Hotel, where Mrs. Stanley McCormick is registered also.

An interesting group of the national officers and the local workers met Miss Addams at the station, and while the train came, yellow dodgers heralding the meeting were distributed to travelers in the station. The train bearing Miss Addams was forty minutes late, all the suffragists being on time for the scheduled arrival.