Janie Porter Barrett (1865-1948) – Founder of Locust Street Settlement House African, Social Welfare Advocate and Reformer
Janie Porter Barrett, who founded the Locust Street Settlement House in 1890 in Hampton, Virginia, modeled her settlement house after Hull-House, founded the year before by Jane Addams. Among other activities, Barrett initiated child placement activities from Locust Street. She later continued her child saving interests outside of Richmond, Virginia where, with the help of The Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, she founded the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls in 1915. Barrett’s approach to social reform also included interracial cooperation. White social reformers such as Jane Addams, who, in 1911, gave a Chicago tea party at Hull-House in Barrett’s honor, and publicly recognized her work.
Note: A description of Locust Street Settlement in Hampton, VA is included in the HANDBOOK OF SETTLEMENTS EDITED BY ROBERT A. WOODS AND ALBERT J. KENNEDY and published by The Russell Sage Foundation in 1911.
Locust Street Social Settlement
320 Locust Street (1890-)
Established October, 1890, by Mrs. Janie Porter Barrett, “to help girls and women to become good homemakers, and to improve the social life of the community.”
Neighborhood. A section of Hampton inhabited mainly by Negroes.
Activities. The work was begun by Mrs. Barrett asking a few girls once a week to her home, and was carried on as a personal venture until 1902 when a club house was erected. Since that time the work has been enlarged to include clubs for women, boys, lectures and much general social work. Instrumental in starting a playground and library, and in encouraging athletic games.
“We are teaching through the efforts of the settlement house, how to have more attractive homes, cleaner back yards, more attractive front yards, cleaner sidewalks, how to have better gardens, how to raise poultry successfully, the proper food for the family, care and feeding of infants and small children. Through the efforts of the house much has been done to improve the social life of the community.”
Maintains library; playground with supervised play; classes in cooking, sewing, mending, quilt making, embroidery, stenciling, bead work, paper work, home garden: clubs for women, young people and children, with social, gardening and athletic interests; entertainments, lectures and socials. Summer Work.-—Playground; excursions and picnics; children’s gardens; distribution of seeds and cuttings; flower and’vegetable shows, etc.
Residents. Women 1, men 1. Volunteers. Women 16, men 4. Head Res1dent. Mrs. Harris Barrett, [1890-.
Literature. Authorized Articles. Batchelder, M. G.: A Social Settlement Day. Southern Workman, Jan., 1904 — Article by Mrs. Esther Brown, Southern Workman, July, 1904, p. 393 — Settlement at Hampton, Va. Commons, xix : 438 (Sept., 1904) — Foster, George E.: The Locust Street Settlement. Ithacan, Oct. 31, 1908, p. 13 — Some Results of Hampton’s Work, 1909 — Barrett, Mrs. Harris: Negro Women’s Clubs and the Community. Southern Workman, Jan., 1910, p. 33-34 — Fernandis, Sarah Collins: Hampton’s Relation to the Constructive Needs of the Negro. Southern Workman, Apr., 1910, p. 204 — The Locust Street Settlement. Pamphlet (undated).
ROBERT A. WOODS
ALBERT J. KENNEDY
More information: The African American Registry – www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/1062/Educator_Janie_Barrett_was_a_reformer
Multimedia Biographies – www.harcourtschool.com/activity/biographies/barrett/