Hale, Clara

Hale, Clara (b. McBride) “Mother”

(1905–92) childcare activist; born in Philadelphia. Widowed in 1932, she supported her family by offering home child care, becoming a foster mother to some 40 children. In 1968, living in Harlem, New York City, with the encouragement of her daughter Dr. Lorraine Hale, she began to take in babies suffering the effects of birth to drug-addicted mothers. In 1973 she formally founded Hale House to put her program on a sounder financial basis. By the 1980s an increasing number of the babies were afflicted with AIDS. President Reagan awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 1985.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.