Mother’s Day usually falls on the second Sunday in May. In 2022, Mother’s Day is May 8, one week earlier.
Back in the 19th century before the Civil War (1861-65), Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia starts “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1868, she organizes “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” where mothers gather with former Union and Confederate soldiers to strengthen reconciliation efforts. In 1870, the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe writes the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call for mothers to unite in the name of world peace. In 1873, she campaigns for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. In the 1870’s, Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist, inspires a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering – sometimes called “the father of Mother’s Day”- work together to organize a day to honor mothers. Mother’s Day continues to be a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968, Coretta Scott King hosts a march in support of underprivileged women and children on Mother’s Day. In the 1970’s, women’s groups shed light on the need for equal rights and access to childcare on Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day is first celebrated in America with a memorial for Ann Reeves Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia. Her daughter Anna Jarvis starts work to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States three years earlier, as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers make for their children. With the backing of Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, the first official Mother’s Day is celebrated in May 1908. By 1912, many states, towns and churches adopt Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, with the help of Anna’s Mother’s Day International Association. Mother’s Day isn’t official until 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signs a measure establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Phew, it really is true – a mother’s work is never done!
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