Letter: Giving spirit

October 24, 2013


To the editor:

Congratulations to the Social Service League team and to Giles Bruce for their story on Oct. 12. Bessie Taylor was appointed manager in 1936. She understood that while the name had changed, the spirit of the organization went back to the founding citizens of Lawrence.

Patricia Michaelis wrote “Quantrill’s Raid in Kansas Memory” in the current Kansas History Journal. She relates that 150 citizens fell victim, leaving 85 widows and 250 orphans. It was this core group of survivors who received help from their families, friends and neighbors who were motivated to carry on the example.

In 1936, across the street from the Social Service store on Rhode Island street (the 1856 home of Kansas territorial governor, Wilson Shannon), the German Hall on Saturday mornings served as a WPA distribution point to hand out a sack of beans and flour to a “bread line” of residents over a block long.

Students in the Central Junior High eighth grade had to stand before their classmates and recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which, in part, said: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced …” Times change, but some things never seem to.


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