One hundred years ago Mrs. Anna Godfrey collapsed on a bench in a \”fashionable\” part of Chicago. Her hair was cut short and she was wearing men\’s clothes and so was charged with \”masquerading in male attire.\” Mrs. Godfrey explained to the judge that she had dressed as a man and set out on a ten mile walk in order to get a job as a farm laborer. Her husband was bed ridden and she and her oldest boy each were able to bring home only a few dollars a week to support the family of six. Mrs. Godfrey dreamed of giving her four children a better place to live than than their home on a alley. As reported in The Tacoma Times (December 2, page 8)
Judge J. R. Caverly….discharged her. \”You are a brave woman,\” he said, \”and deserve praise rather than punishment for your act.\”
but the only relief he could offer was
to take her children away from her and place them in a home
an offer Mrs. Godfrey turned down.
\”No,\” she replied, \”I will go back to the factory, where I worked the last four years, or I will get work as a scrub-woman, but I want to keep my babies in our own home….I told my husband that something would have to be done. I decided to get a job on a truck farm, thinking that if I did well I could bring the family out and that would be better for the children than to stay on the alley. I didn\’t have a cent of money, so I started out to walk. For ten miles I went along, resting when my feet got sore and tired, and then starting out again.
\”My husband thought that farm work would be too hard for me but I told him that 1 could not work any harder than I had been doing.\”
I hope Mrs Godfey was able to keep her babies. I hope she was able to make life better for her children. I hope that life got easier for her and not harder as the years passed. Take a look at this picture of Mrs. Anna Godfey in The day book (Chicago, Illinois. December 2, page 9) and remember her face every time a politician tells you that anyone can get ahead in America if only they are willing to work hard because many Americans, like Mrs. Godfrey, couldn\’t work any harder than they have been doing.