Saul Alinsky & Jane Addams - Similar Under the Surface

Topics: Chicago, Ellen Gates Starr, Saul Alinsky Pages: 3 (1027 words) Published: September 7, 2012
Brief Paper #1

Harvey Burchett
Northeastern State University

SOWK 4733 Practice III
Dr. Satara Armstrong, MSW
February 8, 2012

Brief Paper #1
Both Jane Addams and Saul Alinsky, worked to enact social change within the poor neighborhoods of Chicago. Both would also go on to inspire many other social changes due to their methodologies and accomplishments. However, Addams’ and Alinsky’s approaches to bring about social change are often described as being polar opposites. One could argue though, that despite these superficial differences, Addams and Alinsky shared a commonality that is not often talked about. Jane Addams started the Hull House. She brought services to the people, instead of asking people to come to her. The Hull House provided kindergarten classes, clubs for older children, night school for adults, a library, a public kitchen, gym and a bathhouse in addition to offering training to young social workers. The Hull House also held cultural events and social services. Essentially, Addams wanted to offer whatever the people needed to improve their quality of life. Addams was guided by three principles when developing the Hull House: "to teach by example, to practice cooperation, and to practice social democracy, that is, egalitarian, or democratic, social relations across class lines" (Knight, 2005). Addams was a pacifist at heart and was deeply involved in the peace movement. She became the national chairman of the Women’s Peace Party, President of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and later won the Nobel Peace Prize. This does not mean that Addams did not encounter confrontation. On many occasions, she was quick to point out the mistakes of others, yet she did so without animosity or personal attacks. She did her best to remain objective and noble in her cause. This is a stark contrast to the methodologies of Saul Alinsky. The opening paragraph of...
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