Heroines of the Lower East Side: A Historic Walking Tour

New York, NY — The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy will present Heroines of the Lower East Side: A Historic Walking Tour on Sunday, November 11th at 10:45 AM.  Participants will meet at Straus Square on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM.

Led by historian, preservationist and author Joyce Mendelsohn, this two hour walking tour celebrates the lives of nine inspiring women who played leading social, political and artistic roles on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. The tour of the famed Manhattan neighborhood, being offered for the first time ever, will examine how the nine women lived and how they each came to effect change in New York City and beyond. Heroines of the Lower East Side will highlight the careers of:

  • The founder of Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Lillian D. Wald, an early leader in the movements for public health, education and labor reform, improved housing and civil rights.
  • Anarchist and self-styled revolutionary Emma Goldman, whose writings and fiery speeches advocated for workers’ rights, free speech, birth control and atheism before she was deported to Russia in 1917.
  • “Red Cinderella” Rose Pastor Stokes, a one-time cigar maker turned journalist who married a wealthy uptown man and began travelling the country speaking at rallies in support of social justice and economic equality.
  • Belle Moskowitz, political strategist and top advisor to New York Governor Alfred E. Smith.
  • Union leader Clara Lemlich, a shirtwaist maker who led a strike of sweatshop workers known as the “Uprising of the 20,000.”
  • Author Anzia Yezierska, whose novels, short stories and semi-fictional autobiographical writing vividly depict immigrant life on the Lower East Side and the struggles of women of her generation assimilating to life in America.
  • Sisters Alice and Irene Lewisohn, two theatrical educators and innovators who volunteered at the Henry Street Settlement to teach classes in drama and dance to children and later established the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street.
  • Costume and set designer Aline Bernstein who rose to great acclaim designing for the Broadway stage and became one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute

Participants will also enjoy a rare visit to the historic dining room at Henry Street Settlement, where Lillian D. Wald hosted distinguished guests ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois and delegates of National Negro Conference (after several New York City restaurants refused to accommodate the interracial group).

The walking tour will conclude with a visit to the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy’s Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center for a view of a special photography exhibit and refreshments.

More after the jump.
This tour will be led by Joyce Mendelsohn.  Joyce Mendelsohn is the author of The Lower East Side Remembered & Revisited. She is widely known for her walking tours and lectures on the history, culture and architecture of New York City neighborhoods. She serves on the Board of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy and created docent training programs of synagogues and other historic neighborhood sites for the Conservancy.

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving, sharing and celebrating the Jewish heritage of the Lower East Side. The Conservancy aims to raise public awareness of the Lower East Side’s distinct cultural identity through innovative public walking tours and other programs, while supporting the neighborhood’s community of living synagogues and other historic structures. Private customized tours are available by appointment. For more information about the LESJC, please call 212-374-4100 or visit their website or Facebook page.

The tour is a special fundraising event for the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy. Admission is a $36 contribution. For a contribution of $54, participants will receive tour admission and a signed copy of Joyce Mendelsohn’s book, The Lower East Side Remembered & Revisited.  For a contribution of $100, participants receive both of the above and two free passes to any other LESJC public tour.  Participants must pre-register and pre-pay for the tour by Thursday, November 8.