Americanization, March 13, 1920

Miss Jane Addams Tells of European Conditions in Americanization Talk

Striking a democratic note with her statement that all residents of America are actually immigrants or are comparatively recent descendants of immigrants, Miss Jane [Addams], of Hull house, Chicago, opened her Americanization address Saturday afternoon at the Elks’ temple before the members and guests of the Progress club. The appearance of Miss [Addams] in South Bend under the sponsorship of the civics and philanthropy department and the general club has been devoting an enthusiastic interest.

Regard as Equal.

Miss Addams contended that the logical and human way to approach the recently arrived immigrant to whom our language is incomprehensible and to whom our manners of living and industry are often appallingly strange, is to regard him in all our interests with him as an adult of equal intelligence. In speaking further of the matter of instructing the foreigner in the rudiments of the English language, Miss Addams emphasized the stupidness of the old first reader methods of teaching adults the primary methods of reading English, for, she explained, the adult foreigner man or woman, has little keen interest in the fact that the cat sees the rat or other inane phrases. What he or she does want to know and what he should be taught is the association of the things in which he has an interest and the names of those things, by such a procedure he will learn in a natural way. As an example of her meaning Miss Addams asserted that the women in the cooking classes will take a more appreciative interest in learning the names of the utensils with which she is to work if she can actually handle them and use them than she will if the instructor simply writes on the blackboard, "This is a pan," without exhibiting the utensil. The development then of the intellectual life of the immigrant must be that of consistent evolution.

European Conditions.

In connection with the Americanization work Miss Addams spoke of the food conditions existing in Europe and what America should do to alleviate the suffering of the starving children of the 20 countries which are dependent upon outside aid for their entire sustenance.

After attending the peace conference last summer in Pairs it was part of Miss Addams' program to visit five of the nations of Europe which were suffering from the effects of the war. Three of the countries had been belligerents and two neutral. Quite the most distressing conditions of starvation apparently existed in devastated France, particularly at Lille, where Miss Addams and her companion, Dr. [Alice] Hamilton, saw 600 skeletonized children who were being treated by the American Red Cross, some for starvation and many for tuberculosis. Similar conditions were existent in other localities in Europe and the near east. The feeding of the children of Europe is most essential if the work of reconstruction is to be carried on with any degree of efficiency by the future generations.

Help With Food.

In conclusion Miss Addams urged the women of the city to use their influence in the passage of the fifty million dollar food bill now pending in congress which provides for the purchase and shipment of American food stuffs to the 20 starving countries of Europe and the near east. "These countries must have aid until the next harvest is garnered." Miss Addams asserted.