Ethnic Cleansing 102: The Ethnic Cleansing of the Hull House Neighborhood by the Interim Director of the Hull House Museum
Ethnic Cleansing 102
The Ethnic Cleansing of the Hull House Neighborhood by the
Interim Director of the
Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum (JAHHM)
It is advised that the readers first familiarize themselves with Ethnic Cleansing 101 before continuing on.
Italian Americans, beginning with the mass migration from the shores of Southern Italy, at the turn of the 20th century, endured an organized campaign of media induced psycho-logical genocide. Walter Kirkland’s 1924 classic photograph -“The Hull House Kids”- cir-culating the world as a poster child of sorts, established an insidious form of ethnic cleansing when it identified the 20 Italian youngsters as being of Irish ancestry. (Immi-grant kids from the Mediterranean area did not sell well as fund raisers.) It took 64 years before a Sun-Times investigative reporter exposed that farce. Today, the leadership of the UIC’s Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum (JAHHM), violating the cannons of its own pro-fession and the mission statement that gives credibility for its existence, have embarked upon a program of ethnic cleansing in yet another form.
Second reminder: It is advised that the readers first familiarize themselves with Ethnic Cleansing 101 before continuing on.
Following is the sequence of events, beyond the presentation made to the UIC Board of Trustees in 2011, which further documents that the leadership of the Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum (JAHHM) is insidiously engaged in a program of ethnic cleansing. In lieu of complying with the spirit of the mission statement, which gives substance to the very existence of the JAHHM, the leadership is intent upon promoting its own agenda. The present administration of the JAHHM has omitted that portion of the mission state-ment that alludes to “the history and legacy of the neighborhood that the Jane Addams’ Hull House served.” Included in its replacement is their repeated heterophobic obsession to confirm Jane Addams’ lesbianism.
February 25, 2013 12:36 PM.
Irina Zadov, newly hired Education Coordinator at the JAHHM, sent out a broad invitation to the community seeking “youth and adult advisors for a series of monthly meetings through which we will develop an action plan for the future of JAHHM education.”
February 25, 2013 1:47 PM.
Inna Zadov emails the acceptance, as a member of the panel, of a community resident of Italian ethnicity.
February 25, 2013 3:07 PM.
Two (2) hours later, Inna Zadov emails that the purpose of the Advisory Committee has been changed:–“Due to the changing demographics of Chicago, particularly of the Chicago Public Schools, we will be bringing to light the African American and Latino presence at Hull House – as opposed to those of Eastern and Southern Europeans whose stories we believe have been thoughtfully preserved at the Museum through-out its history. If you are interested in contributing to this specific conversation we invite you to join us, otherwise…”
February 26, 2013 6:06 PM.
The community resident accepts the invitation to participate on the Advisory Committee whose purpose had now been changed. Included in his emailed acceptance were those credentials that clearly qualified him as a viable member of the newly altered committee now charged with focusing on the African and Latino presence at Hull House:–participant in the Hull House experience while growing up in the Little Italy portion of the immigrant community that contributed to his my identity; and later, as a Hull House em-ployee contributing to the fashioning identities of others that followed him. Those creden-tials include:
1) The responsibility, as a Hull House employee, of escorting an Afro-American group of teenagers from the Public Housing Projects to and from Hull House. Aside: That experiment ended in failure a year later when another social worker of Afro-American heritage was assigned to the group leader;
2) Ten year as an educator at the first integrated high school in Chicago, Wells High
School. The gerrymandered boundaries included the Afro-American population from
the Cabrini Green Public Housing Project, Latinos from the Humboldt Park area,
Eastern Europeans from the Chicago Ave area, and 1st generation Italian-Ameri-
cans from the Grand Ave. neighborhood.
February 28, 2013 11:09 AM.
Lisa Junkin, recently assigned as interim director of the Hull House Museum by Lisa Lee, upon being informed by Inna Zukov of the failed attempt of the revised invitation to cleanse the education committee of what Ms. Junkin deemed to be undesirable members of the community; i.e., Italian American scholars who disputed the Museum’s claim that the Greek, Jewish and Italian immigrants had no status in the legacy of Jane Addams and Hull House. That publicly stated position of the JAHHM was clear on that point.
Ms. Junkin, as interim director of the JAHHM, in her personal email, vetoed the revised invitation sent by the newly hired Education Coordinator. Ms. Junkin’s email of February 28, 2013 effectively excommunicated all southern and eastern European immigrants and their offspring from participation on any of the JAHHM educational committees. Per Ms. Junkin: Neither the backgrounds nor interests were considered suitable as members of either of the two educational committee designed to benefit today’s minority groups. In what apparently was an attempt to establish a protective moat, Ms. Junkin added: Our interests would be best suited elsewhere…at some vague future point in time.
In effect, Ms. Junkin, representing the JAHHM and therefore, by definition, the UIC, pub-licly stated that any American of Italian heritage that had roots that reach back to the im-migrant slums of Litlle Italy that produced: –1) the 42 gang, that component of the gang-land era that was the precursor of the Chicago Outfit, 2) the alleged most prolific hit man in the history of organized crime, 3) a record share of convicts doing life without parole, 4) Willard Motley’s best seller Knock on any Door, which became a thesis of sorts for Jane Addams theory of symbolic interactionism, etc., and 5) generations of offspring that, for over three-quarters of a century, occupied the bottom rung on the educational achieve-ment ladder of all European immigrants as measured by enrollment in college — was not qualified to make a valid contribution regarding today’s minority groups occupying the in-ner city neighborhoods.
Further, Ms. Junkin, despite given the position to which she was promoted, apparently was also oblivious of the fact that the community that Jane Addams had labeled “The Hull House Neighborhood” consisted of European immigrants — (prominent among which were the Jews who resided south of 12th Street, the Greeks who resided in the delta area north of Hull House and the Italians who occupied the area between the Jews and the Greeks, from the river on the east on out to the western boundary until the demise of the neighborhood with the arrival of the UIC in 1963)–and the two major migrant groups: Afri-can-Americans and Mexicans that arrived during and after the departure of the Greek and Jew immigrants. Ms. Junkin apparently was also oblivious of the rare display of the Italian American presence in the Hull House neighborhood via a picture depicting a youngster with an Italian surname who was “saved from Taylor Street’s gang infested neighborhood by his participation in Hull House’s pottery making class.”
Further, Ms. Junkin saw no correlation between the immigrant experience of growing up in the slums of the Hull House neighborhood and the issues confronting today’s inner city minority groups, despite the intense interaction between and among the various eth-nic groups of which the Hull House neighborhood was comprised…and the correlation between the experiences of the Italian American enclave and today’s inner city neigh-borhoods