The Radical Roots of Mother’s Day
Long before there were Hallmark cards and flowers and breakfast in bed, Unitarian Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 honoring those mothers who lost sons and husbands to the Civil War and asking women everywhere to work for peace. She declared:
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
Mother’s Peace Day was celebrated in Boston for decades. Eventually a movement started to create a national holiday to celebrate motherhood. President Woodrow Wilson created Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May in 1917.
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