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*This date marks the birth of Mother Hale in 1905. She was an African American activist for civil and children’s rights and the founder of Hale House.
Clara (Mother) Hale's career began as a domestic worker caring for her three children after the death of her husband. She worked cleaning homes during the day and at night she was also employed at a local theater to make ends meet. Soon realizing she was not in the right line of work and strongly believing that her children were not receiving adequate care at a day-care, Hale decided to return home to care for her children as well as the children of full-time maids, unwed mothers, and other mothers who could not or would not care for them. By 1940, Mother Hale became an official foster parent.
During the next 28 years of her life, she became a mother to more than 40 children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, as many as seven or eight at a time. In 1969, after her retirement, Mother Hale at age 65 was introduced to another field of work after her daughter, Lorraine, brought in a drug-addicted mother and child. Mother Hale was asked to house the mother and child and her daughter (Lorraine) would help pay for the expenses. Shortly thereafter, the word had spread that drug-addicted women and children could find a refuge at Mother Hale's home. In 1975, the home was officially licensed as a child-care facility called Hale House. What began as a simple humanitarian operation evolved into a full-fledged hospital and child-care facility for children who were victims of drug abuse.
With no prior knowledge or research on the condition or care of babies born addicted to drugs (Crack Babies), Hale and her daughter nurtured the babies and mothers. Until the 1980's the children were mainly victims of drug addiction. Now, many of the children are victims of HIV/AIDS and other STD's. President Reagan recognized Hale as an American Hero in 1985 and placed Mother Hale on the president's American Commission on Drug Free Schools. She also received other national and international recognition for her work. She was made an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and has been awarded seventeen honorary doctorates.
Mother Hale died in 1992. Her daughter Lorraine Hale has carried on her mission.
Hale House Center, Inc.
152 West 122nd Street New York, NY 10027