Bresette, Linna Eleanor

On December 24, 2013 By

Linna Eleanor Bresette: Teacher, Advocate for Women Laborers, Catholic Social Reformer (1882-1960). By Michael Barga

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While some children required long-term placement, assistance was often temporary. One worker describes a case below which particularly displays the “uplift” mentality of the Society:

“After a meeting, I called on a widow with four children. She is sick. To secure daily bread, her boy, twelve years of age, sells papers. He called to see me, asking for a situation in the city, whereby he might help his mother. I knew a man of business who wanted a boy, took him with me and secured the place. He has been with him three weeks, and gives such good satisfaction that his wages have been raised, and he is promised permanent employment with a knowledge of the trade. When the mother had sufficiently recovered she came to thank me for the interest I had taken in her son. In this case it was not the money given which called forth her gratitude, but the fact that I had helped the family to help themselves.”

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Monsignor Paul Hanly Furfey (1896-1992): Catholic Sociologist Pioneer, Settlement House Organizer By: Michael Barga

At the turn of the 20th century, sociology was a young field in the United States, and only a handful of advanced degree programs existed for the emerging area of study.  In 1895, The Catholic University of America established the first […]

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Written by Michael Barga. “Some of the earliest sustained social service institutions and health care facilities in New York City were started by the sisters. Their allegiance to local Catholics in the city came in conflict with their obedience to their superiors … eventually leading to the establishment of a separate order recognized as the Sisters of Charity of New York (SCNY).”

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Written by Michael Barga. The Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania (CAS of PA) was formed in 1882 and was one of the first organizations dedicated to the care of children. The organization’s work has combined policy and direct service over the years, and the Society’s responsiveness to communal needs is especially highlighted through their efforts in times of war, depression, and social discord.

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Social work does not consist of maintaining any social activity which has become standard and permanent. Social workers are continually originating certain activities and vindicating them and making them standard and permanent but after they have reached that stage they are not rated as social work. At one point kindergartens which are now a regular part of our educational system were promoted and maintained as social work. Some activities that are more or less permanent and standardized in regard to their procedure such as the relief work of old family welfare societies are nevertheless exceptional activities because the circumstances of the different individuals require and receive special treatment in each case. Even relief giving may pass out of the realm of social work if it is put on the basis of flat pensions and paid for out of taxation, as in the case of soldier’s pensions; or if pensions are given as a part of a fixed policy of a big corporation toward its employees, there is no reason to class the administration of these pensions as social work.

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At the latter end of the depression, the Quaker community had begun working with professionals in hopes of better organizing their aid to the disadvantaged. In 1879, the contact between the groups culminated in the Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charitable Relief and Repressing Mendicancy (SOC), which later became known as Family Service of Philadelphia. Within two years, SOC had 9,000 contributors.

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Written by Michael Barga. “The vision of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church has remained consistent throughout its existence and is a strongly social and service-oriented spiritual community.”

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Blacks who were interested in starting their own branch of the Odd Fellows had discussions with whites in these unincorporated lodges. While these efforts were unsuccessful, they were able to secure incorporation with the Order through a lodge in England. They officially started activities in 1843, and the early membership drew from two established black groups who lacked mutual benefit components: the Philomethan Literary Society and the Philadelphia Company and Debating Society. One of the key players in the development of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America was Peter Ogden. He reportedly swayed American blacks interested in the Odd Fellows to focus their attention on gaining affiliation with an English lodge rather than lodges in the United States. Ogden presented the admission application in person to the appropriate committee during one of his voyages while in England.

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Brown Fellowship Society

On September 4, 2012 By

Mutual aid societies were maintained by blacks throughout the United States. The goal of the groups was to provide much needed benefits to their communities that whites controlled and often withheld. In the south, it was particularly difficult to sustain a black organization of any kind since assemblies of non-whites were considered dangerous. Still, some southern cities, including Charleston, SC, stratified individuals by three race descriptions: white, black, and mulatto. Those considered mulattoes were sometimes able to avoid the most severe oppressive measures carried out by whites while having to adhere in the majority of ways. The Brown Fellowship Society (BFS) was a response to this three-race cultural environment of Charleston and came together in 1790. Those who joined usually considered themselves mulatto…

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