We are excited to announce that we received funding from Humanities Nebraska to support the production of two of our NE-based episodes -- about incredible social worker, Grace Abbott and the first Native American female physician, Susan La Flesche Picotte. You can learn more about them below!
Grace Abbott (1878-1939) was born in Grand Island, Nebraska to activist parents who worked for the Underground Railroad and the women’s suffrage movement in the Midwest. After attending the University of Nebraska, Abbott and her sister Edith moved to Chicago to become residents of Hull House, a settlement house founded in 1889 by social reformer Jane Addams. Living side by side with poor immigrant residents of the community, Abbott became an influential advocate for immigrant rights, and served as director of the Immigrants’ Protective League. From 1921 to 1934, as chief of the U.S. Children’s Bureau in the Department of Labor, Abbot was the highest ranked woman in the U.S. government, where she led the fight to end child labor, common in factories and mills of the time. She helped draft American's Social Security Act and was voted by Good Housekeeping as one of “America’s Twelve Greatest Women” in 1931.
Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915) grew up on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska against the backdrop of the Dawes Act of 1887 which sought to do away with Native American tribes and foster assimilation into white society. Overcoming hostility from both her tribe and white society, Picotte graduated from Women’s Medical College and became the first Native American female physician. She returned to the reservation and spent her career making house calls on foot and horse-drawn buggy across its 20,000 acres. Alcoholism was becoming serious problem on the Omaha Reservation, and a personal one for Picotte: her own husband was an alcoholic. Active in the temperance movement, she campaigned publicly against drinking and unscrupulous liquor dealers. In 1913, Picotte fulfilled her lifelong dream of founding a community hospital on the reservation.