Address Before the Nineteenth Century Club, October 14, 1907 (excerpts)



Jane Addams Tells Oak Park Club That Votes Would Tend to Stop Police Blackmail.

Chicago. Oct. 15. -- That the police of large cities prey on the women of the red light districts was a declaration made by Jane Addams of Hull House yesterday in an address before the Nineteenth Century Club of Oak Park.

"This is true not only of Chicago, but of all large cities," said Miss Addams. "We hear much of disrepute and look in disdain upon these women; these same wretched creatures, who deserve our aid, are blackmailed by the police or dragged every few days into the police station.

"Are they any greater criminals [than] the men who run such places, or the keepers of gambling dens? Yet these men are not placed under arrest with anything like the frequency that the women are threatened. The women have no redress. But the men get busy. They will not stand it. An appeal to the powers that be 'higher up' keeps them out of jail.

"I think if women had the right of ballot this wrong would be righted to a great extent.

"These women at times have brought their troubles to my door. I have heard their stories. I will say, though, that I have not heard of any specific case of blackmail in the last six months."

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