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Heroines of the Lower East Side: A Special Mother's Day Historic Walking Tour

This two hour walking tour celebrates the lives of women: ordinary, unsung heroines who battled to raise their families and make a life in the New World, as well as nine inspiring women who played leading social, political and artistic roles on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. The tour of the famed Manhattan neighborhood will examine how the nine women lived and how they each came to effect change in New York City and beyond.

Participants will also enjoy a rare visit to the historic dining room at Henry Street Settlement, where Lillian D. Wald hosted distinguished guests ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois and delegates of National Negro Conference (after several NYC restaurants refused to accommodate the interracial group). Tour will conclude with a light lunch in the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center.

Admission is $22. ($25 if purchased after May 7)

Justin Ferate has been on the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Federation of NYC, the National and Metropolitan chapters of the Victorian Society in America, the LESJC, and the NYC & Company Tour Guide Enhancement Program. Justin Ferate is also active in numerous historic and preservation societies. With a background in Urban and Architectural History, Justin was awarded fellowships to study 19th Century Architecture and Design in Philadelphia, Newport and London.

Some of the women that will be featured on the tour:

Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940), founder of Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The settlement provided home health care, recreational, cultural and educational programs for immigrants and their families living on the Lower East Side. As a social welfare activist, she was an early leader in the movements for public health, education and labor reform, improved housing, civil rights and world peace.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940), anarchist and self-styled revolutionary. She supported herself by working in sweatshops and, later, as a midwife. In her writings and as a fiery orator, she advocated for workers' rights, free speech, birth control and atheism. Jailed numerous times, she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" and deported to Russia in 1917.

Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), "The Red Yiddish Cinderella." She was a cigar maker turned journalist whose marriage to a son of a wealthy uptown family made headlines in the NY press. Together the Socialist power couple traveled around the country speaking at lectures and rallies in support of social justice and economic equality.

Belle Moskowitz (1877-1933), political strategist and top advisor to NY Governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith. As a young widow and mother, she worked at the Educational Alliance and became involved in liberal causes. She was successful in mobilizing the women's vote for Gov. Smith and framing his progressive legislation that led to F.D.R's New Deal.

Clara Lemlich (1886-1982), union leader. As a youthful shirtwaist maker, she led a strike in 1909 of sweatshop workers known as the "Uprising of the 20,000." The young women marched on pickets lines for 14 weeks, demanding higher pay and safer working conditions. Although they achieved limited concessions, their determination energized the nascent labor movement.

Anzia Yezierska (c. 1880-1970), author. Her novels, short stories and semi-fictional autobiographical writing vividly depict immigrant life on the Lower East Side and the struggles and conflicts of women of her generation assimilating to life in America. In 1920, Samuel Goldwyn invited her to Hollywood, as an advisor for a film based on some of her short stories.

The Lewisohn sisters: Alice (1883-1972) and Irene (1886-1944), theatrical educators and innovators. Daughters of an affluent German-Jewish family, in 1905 they volunteered at Henry Street Settlement to teach classes in drama and dance to children and teenagers. In 1915, they established the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street, one of the early "little theaters" in the city presenting avant-garde stage productions.

Aline Bernstein (1880-1955), costume and set designer. She embarked on her theatrical career at the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1915 as chief designer of costumes, props and scenery. There she began her eight-year love affair with Thomas Wolfe on a backstage sofa. She moved on to great acclaim designing for the Broadway stage and was one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.