National PTA Founders' Day is celebrated annually on February 17th to honor the legacy and work of the three women who founded the National Parents and Teachers Association (National PTA). Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Selena Sloan Butler want to improve every child's life and future and have taken action to make a difference. The National PTA strives to be a powerful voice for all children, the right resource for parents and a strong advocate for public education.
History of National PTA Founders' Day
2021 marks the 51st anniversary of the unification of the National Parent and Teacher Conference and the National Conference of Parents and Teachers of Color, which make up the national PTA it is today.
In 1897, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst founded the National Congress of Parents and Teachers with a mission to improve children's lives in terms of education, health and safety. In 1926, the National Congress of Parents of Color and Teachers, founded by Selena Sloan Butler, is to advocate for children, especially African-American children in segregated communities.
As America progressed through the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement, and eventually the separation of schools and communities, the two associations fought side by side for every child. Following the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation, the associations held their conventions together and worked to unify in all 50 states. On June 22, 1970, the two congresses signed the Declaration of Unity and officially became an association.
The unity of the two congresses is an important part of the National PTA's history and the association's ongoing efforts to serve and make a difference for every child.
This organization was founded by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst when women did not have the right to vote and social activism was not popular. However, they believed that mothers would support their mission to eliminate threats to children, and in early 1897, they began a nationwide campaign.
On February 17, 1897, more than 2,000 people - mostly physicians, but also fathers, teachers, laborers and legislators - attended the first convocation of the Congress. National Mothers in Washington, DC Twenty years later, 37 chartered state conventions are in existence.
In 1970, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (National PTA) and the National Congress of Parents and Teachers of Color (NCCPT) — founded by butler Selena Sloan Butler in Atlanta, Ga. — merged to serve all children.
The National PTA, one of the largest volunteer child advocacy organization, is the nation's conscience on child and youth issues. Through advocacy, as well as family and community education, the National PTA has established programs and calls for legislation to improve our children's lives, such as:
- Create Kindergarten classes
- Child Labor Law
- Public health service
- Hot and healthy lunch program
- Juvenile justice system
- Mandatory Immunization
- Art in Education
- School safety
Founders Day is time for us to celebrate the legacy and work of our founders — Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Selena Sloan Butler — to improve every child's life with education. , health and safety. This is a time to reflect and be proud of our achievements, and renew our commitment to being:
- Powerful voice for all children;
- Related resources for parents; and
- Strong advocate for public education.
Our founders represent women of imagination and courage. They have a simple idea - to improve the lives and futures of all children. They understand the power of individual action, overcome barriers to acceptance in their time, and act to change the world for all children.
How to celebrate National PTA Founders' Day
I love the story of National PTA Founders Day! Two thousand women gathered in the District of Columbia in mid-February 1897 and shared a vision to create a better world for their children and all children across the nation.
If you want to learn more about these wonderful women and the first convention, visit the website of the Library of Congress to read newspapers from Washington and various cities. At that time, there were many newspapers in the country serving cities, small towns and county capitals.
Reading eyewitness accounts of the first National Mother’s Day gathering was moving.
Here's what you can learn:
- Motherhood was one of the most important contributions to society by a woman during that time period. The conference is planned to bring together experts on motherhood and early childhood. Our founders were interested in doing humanitarian work by raising outstanding citizens that the nation would be proud to send out into the world.
- Alice McClellan Birney, an educator, first pitched the concept to a group of mothers in New York in August 1895 and was able to publicize her proposal nationwide. Her ideas won the support of other educators and civic leaders.
- Mrs. Hearst's generosity helped drive the wheels of motion as well as her remarkable network of connections — the vice president's wife, Adlai Stevenson, president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, inspector for the Postal Service. United States, educators, editors and directors. They worked tirelessly to build relationships and spread the word about this new project.
- The organization identified officers who lived in different cities — Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The president and vice presidents live in DC while the secretary and treasurer live elsewhere. Their goal for the first event was to bring the best and brightest professionals to speak with motivation and transformation enthusiasts across the country.
- At the first convening of the National Congress of Mothers on February 17, 1897, two thousand people attended — men and women, African-Americans and whites, educators, editors, Sunday school teachers, and delegates from sister associations — to Washington, DC as far west as California, as far south as Tennessee and as far north as Massachusetts.
- Attendees are eager to learn the most up-to-date information on child education and best parenting. They crowded the boardroom to listen to presentations on current science and educational practices, reading to children, and the parallels between motherhood and an artist.
- During their time in DC, attendees met First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland at the White House.
- Our founding mothers practiced their values. During the event, one of Alice McClellan Birney's young children took to the stage, seeking her mother's attention. Mrs. Birney asked permission to leave the stage and spend time with her young daughters, who have not seen their mother since she was away.
- An exhibition hall was created and it was not full of vendors and sponsors. Instead, they set up an area of the hotel and set up a nursery with all necessary supplies. This is intended to introduce attendees to the latest and greatest gadgets to enhance a child's life.
ObservedNational PTA Founders' Day has been observed annually on February 17th.
Monday, February 17th, 2020
Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Thursday, February 17th, 2022
Friday, February 17th, 2023
Saturday, February 17th, 2024