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Who was Hilda "Jane" Worthington Smith?

She is a unique combination of the visionary, the realistic activist, and the pioneer, guided always by an unshakeable common sense which never permits her to substitute ideology, conventional wisdom or lofty principle for the direct approach to meeting a clearly perceived human need. Above all, she brings out the best in other people through her genuine warmth of feeling, her imaginative insight into their potentialities, her belief and trust in them, and her sense of the wholeness and richness of life which has made her insist that poetry and astronomy are as relevant to workers' education as are economics and public speaking.

From Caroline F. Ware, author, historian and social scientist. Former teacher at the Bryn Mawr Summer School.

 
And what is workers' education?  

I think the first thing is to say what workers' education is and what it is not. I'd like to say, first, it is not vocational education. Many people think that that is what it is; it's not trade training for workers. That's entirely separate, should supplement workers' education and go along with it. But it is not the same thing. Workers' education is a specialized branch of adult education. It covers in general the economic and labor problems related to the experience of industrial workers, office workers, farmers, anything that touches the economic field. It is also and usually supplemented with much work in English, with elementary science, social psychology, with history, with a background of life in the United States. It touches: employers' problems, trade union problems, the worker in the community as citizen, the government's relation to industry and to the labor movement.

Interview with Hilda Worthington Smith, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY, October 17, 1963

Workers'education was ... "unusual because it involved three groups virtually ignored at the time: women, blue collar workers, and blacks..."

Priscilla Van Tassel, New York Times, June 24, 1984, NJ5.

   
         
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