Settlement Houses: Providing Social And Educational Services To The Immigrants

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The Progressive Era brought us settlement houses that were opened to for help to the immigrant’s that are in need with social and educational services. The term Hull House (Which is the Settlement Houses) which was named after Mr. Hull, was in Chicago’s Nineteenth Ward. This housed immigrants with diverse nationalities for example Italians, Irish, English, Germans, Americans, Canadians, and Russians. Eventually the new immigrants that were coming in; had neighbors that spoke their language and had their beliefs. At a point the Nineteenth Ward was the highest to have the most diverse group over the Seventh Ward, the Eighth and Ninth, and the Twenty-third ward. The settlement houses also became meeting spots where reformers and all kinds of organize groups could come and talk problems in our society. A Settlement House that was mainly known was made by Jane Addams and a close companion Ellen Gates Starr. The Settlement houses main idea was for helping incoming immigrants adapt themselves to the U.S. But how did this all come to be? What came into play because of this?

America’s first settlers some came in search of freedom to practice their faith. 1620, a group of people that will be known as “Pilgrims”, fled the religious persecution in Europe, and arrived at Plymouth where they Started a colony. Soon they will be followed by a larger group looking for religious freedom, were the Puritans, who made the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Puritans came to the U.S around 1630-40. A larger number of immigrants came to the U.S looking for economic opportunities. But since the price to come to the U.S was costly, white Europeans that took the trip became temporary servants. Even though some of these immigrants voluntarily did it themselves, other immigrants were taken by force in European cities and forced into slavery in America. Another group of immigrants who was forced against their wanting were black slaves from Africa. Congress eventually made the need of slaves in U.S illegal by1808, but slavery still existed. The Civil War of the U.S brought the emancipation of estimate of 4 million slaves. About 500,000 Africans were forced to come to the U.S and sold into slavery around the 17th and 19th centuries. The first federal legislation stopping immigration was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion act. Individual states watched the amount immigrants before 1892 opening up Ellis Island, the U.S first federal immigration establishment. In 1965 laws were made ending the system that biasedly picked the European immigrants. The majority of the U.S immigrants came from Asia and Latin America. From the start the U.S has been a country of immigrants; all the way back from its beginning days.

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We can call this “urban politics at the turn of the century; The Problems that booming cities faced in trying to absorb millions of immigrants proved formidable and at times seemed insurmountable.” Cities didn’t have much authority to control their own problems and often needed the state to allow raising money and passing regulations. But if anything, there were no laws to regulate housing construction; and there were private companies owning public utilities also with their competition making duplication and waste. These Companies paid too much attention on wealthier neighborhoods instead of viewing it as a whole picture, as the city as a whole, and working as one. “The machine cared little about issues such as good housing, job safety, and sufficient wages. It remained for others to provide alternative approaches to relieving the plight of the urban poor. Urban, middle‐class reform movement also known as the Urban Reformers gave support to the government on taking part in addressing problems as the control of big business and the welfare of the public. 1883 when congress responded to these issues by passing the “Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act”, This act required jobs at the federal level to be awarded by merit; “the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.” Another group that was formed filled with members with backgrounds of upper and middle-class Americans, which put aside their differences with working class immigrants, and worked with the new coming immigrants to fix these social problems. This group mostly young and many of them being women and college graduates went to the urban slums and took up residence in these places called the settlement houses.

The Settlement houses offered a many choice of services to community residents all the way from child day care to cooking, sewing, secretarial classes, neighborhood playgrounds, counseling sessions, and meeting rooms for labor unions and other organizations. Britain 1884 the settlement house movement began when London middle class reformers made Toynbee Hall, the first settlement house, East London would provide education and social services to workers of the lower class who resided in the area. The British movement motivated America’s social reformers. In response to growing industrial poverty by the late 1800’s they started by raising money for settlement houses. Stanton Coit made the Neighborhood Guild in 1886, in New York City the first U.S settlement house. In Chicago 1889, Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Starr founded Hull-House, one of the most popular settlement houses in the U.S. 74 settlement houses by 1887 in the United States, and the numbers exploded to about 400 by 1890. In Boston, Chicago, and New York Forty percent of settlement houses were in those areas. Most small cities and the head industrial centers had at least one of these settlement housing. Even though the settlement house movement was open to religion and stayed away from converting, many religious groups were the reason for building settlements, like the Roman Catholic Church, Y.W.C.A, and the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Responding to the South and north black migrations from the industrial centers, African American churches made settlement houses to provide social services to black migrants who just came to the U.S. In Chicago, for instance, The African Methodist Episcopal Institutional Church was founded by Reverend Reverdy Ransom, to bring in employment, education, and welfare services to blacks who came to the U.S.

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