Women and Gender Seminar: Karen Johnson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Friday, February 19, 2010

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Women and Gender Seminar

“The Long Civil Rights Movement in Chicago: Ann Harrigan and Women’s Catholic Interracialism, 1933-1948”
Karen Johnson, University of Illinois at Chicago
Commentator: Jane Dailey, University of Chicago 

In 1942, Ann Harrigan, the Catholic daughter of Irish immigrants, left her job as a New York City school teacher and moved to Chicago’s black belt to open Friendship House to work for interracial justice. Harrigan emulated the saints of old as she struggled to subjugate her body to her religious ideals. In doing so she obtained power to speak for interracialism among whites and challenged many of the priests and laypeople who fought to keep blacks out of their parishes. Harrigan’s story highlights the contours of Catholic interracialism and the intersection of race, religion, and the body in civil rights activism.