July 9, 2011

Dorothy Wada and Young Appalachian Artists, 1970

Photo of Dorothy Wada and some sidewalk artists from 1970 that ran in the Sun-Times. Excerpt from the original article:

Four days a week these children mill around the neighborhood — skipping over cracked sidewalks littered with broken glass. They "play car" in rusty autos junked in empty lots. Or they "just set around ... but you kin fall down and get hurt doin' that ... so it's funner at scouts..." On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the children participate in a unique program that Miss Wada invented three summers ago. It's now accepted as a new form of scouting and is being used in several other areas of Chicago. "We had few troops in Uptown in 1967," Miss Wada said. "Traditional programs didn't appeal to the Southern white lifestyle and we couldn't get either Scouts or leaders to join."

The article goes on to describe how Miss Wada brought bags full of craft materials and games to the streets, and coaxed the children out "pied piper style" to come play. Eventually, she gathered more than 1000 children at six sites in Uptown and two at other locations in the city. It was harder to get leaders. Because of the violence in Uptown, many were afraid to walk the streets. "There's been a rash of shootings in the neighborhood lately," Miss Wada said, "but we just keep believing that nobody's going to hurt us as long as we're helping the children."

Original photo available on eBay (search Girl Scouts)

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