With an passion for tolerance and service to others, pioneer social reformer Laura Jane Addams (1860-1935) was born on this day in Cedarville, Illinois. Her father was a prominent businessman and Republican state senator.
"The excellent becomes the permanent," she once said.
As a child, her father gave her a nickel for every book she read and understood. She became a voracious reader and by 15 has read all the books in her home library.
"When I grow up," young Jane told her father, "I want to build a beautiful house, then I will invite all the poor people to come and stay with me."
And that's exactly what she did. Along with life-long friend Ellen Starr, Addams established Hull House in 1889, an innovative community center located in one of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. What they envisioned as a "center for a higher civic and social life," became the best educational and social service organization of its time.
"Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself," said Addams, an example of hope and courage.
With Hull House, she embraced immigrants and celebrated the true meaning of democracy, urging others to rethink their philosophy. An advocate for world peace, equality, and feminism, in 1931 she became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
About world unity, she said: "This dream that men shall cease to waste strength in competition and shall come to pool their powers of production is coming to pass all over the earth."
Be tolerant: there is strength in our diversity.