Essay on Historical person in Social Work

Submitted By Francesca-Perez-Tybu
Words: 922
Pages: 4

Historical Essay: Grace Abbott
Francesca Perez-Tyburski

The development of the profession social work has gone through drastic changes overtime. Social work is a profession where one’s time is allocated into aiding others towards betterment. The goal of social workers is to better the lives of individuals in hope that there will be a positive outcome on a community. Passion may drive you but if you do not know where to drive you will not reach your destination. The point of interest has to be reached with the correct tools and essentials. There have been many figures throughout history that have helped shaped the profession into what it is today. Grace Abbott certainly has made a huge impact during her years. She worked to better the lives of the poor, immigrants, women, and children.
Early childhood experiences impact one’s decisions as they grow up. Perhaps Grace Abbott was predestined to work on the betterment of humanity; her parents were activists themselves. Her mother was a Quaker, who supported the suffragist movements and was an abolitionist. Quakers’ believed in social justice and equality. When slavery was prominent her mother’s family was actively helped on the Underground Railroad. Abbott’s father was also an abolitionist. Her father was a soldier who fought to defend Lincoln in the Union army. “Both of her parents were pioneers along the rugged Western frontier of the mid-1800s.” ( Grace Abbott shared the will of being an activist of peace with her elder sister, Edith Abbott. Because Grace Abbott was predisposed to the act of helping other’s to create equality, it was no surprise she lived up to and beyond this standard of beliefs.
Grace Abbott worked to better the lives of many in education, healthcare, and housing. Abbott accomplished much in her career and as a true visionary saw that there was more to achieve. At the age of twenty-nine her journey began in social justice. Abbott had the privilege of meeting and working with another powerful woman of their time, Jane Addams. Both women shared the passion for social equality and worked together to accomplish what they could. Abbott was neither blind nor ignorant of the problems of her day; the issues included child labor atrocities, healthcare provided for women and children, and the cruel treatment of immigrants.
The Immigrants Protective League was formed by Abbott in 1908. The organization assisted European immigrants to the Chicago area. This League also worked to assimilate the immigrants in to the “American Culture.” By teaching immigrants the manners of American’s the Immigrants Protective League believed tension would lessen between the Americans and new European Immigrants. “Abbott felt that immigrants needed protection from unsavory employers and others looking to exploit their lack of language skills and naiveté about the American business, laws, and culture.” (
Abbott moved to Washington, D.C. in 1917, where she used her ambition to tackle on another social injustice. She headed up the Child Labor Division with the Children's Bureau. What her job was to enforce a 1916 federal law that restricted interstate marketing of goods created by child labor. Sadly, the Supreme Court overturned this law on the grounds it interfered with states' rights. There was a silver lining; Abbott was then inspired to lobby for a constitutional amendment to ban child labor. (
In 1921 Abbott became the head of the Children's Bureau. With this opportunity she worked to accomplish another cause. Her concern was to ensure the health care to pregnant women and mothers. Abbott was able to get the Sheppard-Towner Act passed into law. What this Act meant was that this