Jane Edna Hunter
Jane Edna Hunter
The Inspirational Life of Jane Edna Hunter
Jane Edna Harris Hunter was the daughter of a former slave and was born in a slave cabin on the Woodburn Farm in historic Pendleton, South Carolina on December 13, 1882. During her amazing life, she earned her nursing degree, law degree, founded the Phillis Wheatley Association and the National Phillis Wheatley Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio and was a Social Activist and a Millionaire. She also published her autobiography, A Nickel and A Prayer, which is sold below.
Note: The information on this page was gathered from various websites which are listed below as well as a power point presentation given by Dr. Rhondda Thomas of Clemson University and conversations with Pendleton Historic Foundation Board Member, Carol Burdette and The Jane Edna Hunter Project of Clemson University.
Fearless Trailer - The Jane Edna Hunter Documentary Coming Soon, We Hope!
This documentary is going to be wonderful and I hope the necessary funding will soon be raised.
A Nickel and A Prayer - Autobiography of Jane Edna Hunter
This book was out of print but thanks to the hard work of Dr. Rhondda Thomas and her Creative Inquiry Class at Clemson University, it is once again available and now contains a new final chapter. Publishing this book was one of the first accomplishments of the Jane Edna Hunter project and the Creative Inquiry Class. There are plans to create a full length documentary also.
This autobiography details the obstacles that Jane Edna Hunter had to overcome to accomplish what she did as a prominent African American. Jane Edna Hunter was born in Pendleton SC and moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she started the Phillis Wheatley Association and was a well known social activist. Jane first published her autobiography in 1940.I downloaded this book to my Kindle and have to say that I really enjoyed reading it. I have always enjoyed reading autobiographies especially if the person has achieved success after overcoming obstacles. This story is inspiring on so many levels. Jane Edna Hunter was a woman way ahead of her time and determined to make a difference in this world.
Who Was Jane Edna Hunter?
Interesting Photos of Jane Edna Hunter - These photos were provided for use on this page by the The Jane Edna Hunter Project, Clemson University.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jane was born in the Harris Cabin on the Woodburn Farm - A Reproduction of her cabin exists at Woodburn in Pendleton SC
Jane's Early Life Began In A Cabin
According to a Power Point Presentation that was given by Dr. Thomas at the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast in Anderson SC on January 18, 2013:
Jane Edna Hunter was the daughter of Edward and Harriet Millner Harris and was born in December 1882. Jane's father died when she was only 10 years old. Jane's mother sent her off to do domestic work with only a grade school education. Jane was later allowed to complete her education at the Williams and Ferguson Academy, a boarding school for African American children in Abbeville, SC. She graduated Ferguson and Williams College and found a job as a domestic in Abbeville. Her mother forced her to marry a man 40 years older than she. This marriage only lasted one year and although Jane kept her husband's name, "Hunter", she separated from him which was basically unheard of during this time. She moved to Charleston and worked for Attorney Benjamin Rutledge, Jr. in his home on the battery. After receiving her nursing degree in Virginia, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1905.
Reproduction of the Harris Cabin by Carol Burdette:The cabin that Jane was born in and lived in during her early years had deteriorated and was torn down but in the mid 2000's the Pendleton Historic Foundation who owns Woodburn decided that it was important in the interpretation of history to build a replica of Jane's birth cabin. After much research by Dr. Rhondda Thomas and her Creative Inquiry Class at Clemson University, the cabin was dedicated in 2008.
Photo Credit: Photo compliments of the Pendleton Historic Foundation and is not to be copied.
Woodburn in Pendleton, SC
Woodburn Historic House
Located at 130 History Lane in Pendleton SC
The Harris Cabin was on the property of the Woodburn Farm where Jane Edna Hunter was born on December 13, 1882. Woodburn Historic House was built in 1830 and was a working plantation where her parents were wage laborers.Woodburn Historic House is maintained by the Pendleton Historic Foundation who offers guided tours and special programs throughout the year.
Jane makes her way from South Carolina to Ohio - Jane settles in Cleveland, Ohio in 1905
This Book Meant A Lot To Jane Edna Hunter - The Meaning of Prayer by Dr. Fosdick
When reading Jane's Autobiography, her faith really shined through and she expressed the importance of this book to her. Of course, I had to look it up once I read what she had to say about it. I always like to read the "Reader Reviews" on Amazon and in doing so I learned that she definitely was not the only one who treasured this book. It was first published in 1915 and is now available as a reprinted version.
Phillis Wheatley Association in Cleveland, Ohio - Jane Edna Hunter founded the Phillis Wheatley Association
Jane Moves To Cleveland in 1905
According to Dr. Thomas's Power Point Presentation previously cited:Jane found many of the same obstacles that she had experienced in SC when she moved to Cleveland in 1905. She had difficulty finding work as a nurse, could not find affordable housing or suitable recreation. She was finally hired as a private duty nurse for prominent families in Cleveland and even worked in a home on Millionaire's Row.On June 4, 1910, Jane's mother passed away unexpectedly and Jane became very depressed and even considered suicide. On a train ride, she felt called to devote her life to helping young African American Southern women who reminded her of her mother. She became determined to find a way to provide adequate affordable housing for young girls as well as recreation. Through many trials and tribulations, Jane was able to accomplish that and much more.According to Dr. Thomas, the association outgrew their place at the Winona Apartments and had served more than 10,000 women by 1920. Jane started a $600,000 capital campaign for a new building and summer camp. She completed law school at the Baldwin-Wallace Law School in Berea, Ohio and passed the Ohio Bar in 1925. John D. Rockefeller contributed $100,000 to the capital campaign for the Phillis Wheatley Association building on East 46th Street and Cedar Avenue which was completed in 1927. Jane continued to be very active in the association and became a millionaire by investing wisely in the stock market. Instead of enjoying her money herself, she established The National Phillis Wheatley Foundation awarding needs-based college scholarships to women born in South Carolina or Ohio. Jane Edna Hunter died in 1971 in Cleveland after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Photo by Christopher Busta-Peck. Author Christopher Busta-Peck granted permission for this photo to be used here. Not to be copied.
Why Did Jane Change the Name to The Phillis Wheatley Association?
Why did she title her book "A Nickel and A Prayer"?
In 1911, Jane asked seven of her girlfriends to meet each week and give a nickel and say a prayer for the success of their newly founded Working Girls' Home Association. Dr. Thomas explains that the association's name was later changed to The Phillis Wheatley Association in honor of the first African American writer to publish a book and earn a living from her writing. Phillis Wheatley was born around 1753 in Gambia, Africa and sold as a slave to the Wheatley family in Boston in 1761. She was given her first name for the ship that carried her to America, The Phillis.The association's first year's rent was paid in full by the founder of the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company, Henry Sherwin, and was first located at 2265 East 40th Street as a home for girls. They also assisted young women in finding jobs and later served meals and provided recreation.
Photo Credit: Portrait of Phillis Wheatley http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/02/06/phillis-wheatley-an-eighteenth-century-genius-in-bondage
Books about Phillis Wheatley available on Amazon - Just click a book to be directed to Amazon to purchase, read reviews or browse around
Important Links for Jane Edna Hunter - Enjoy exploring for more information
After scrolling down this page, please come back to these links to learn more about this amazing woman.
- The Jane Edna Hunter Project
This is a project of a Clemson Creative Inquiry Class under the direction of Dr. Rhondda Thomas - Clemson University English Department. Click this link to learn more about the project and to donate to this worthwhile cause.
- Pendleton Historic Foundation: Ashtabula and Woodburn Historic Homes | Pendleton, SC
The Pendleton Historic Foundation is very involved in this project and is coordinating with Dr. Thomas and her class to see that this documentary becomes a reality.
- The Phillis Wheatley Association - Home
The Phillis Wheatley Association was founded by Jane Edna Hunter in Cleveland, Ohio in 1911 to provide work, housing, training, support and much more to young African American Women.
- New generation learning of Pendleton woman's life of service Anderson Independent Mail
When Sandra Gantt was a child, she heard stories of her distant relative, Jane Edna Hunter. Her grandmother even read stories to her from Hunter's autobiography, "A Nickel and a Prayer."
- Dead Horse Productions
Dead Horse Productions will produce the documentary of Jane Edna Hunter's Life.
- Town of Pendleton SC
Pendleton will be celebrating it's 225 birthday in 2015. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the documentary was ready by then. I sure hope it will be.
Jane Edna Hunter Project
Clemson University's Creative Inquiry Class Project - by Dr. Rhondda Robinson Thomas Department of English Clemson University
Dr. Thomas first became interested in the life of Jane Edna Hunter after reading her autobiography, A Nickel and a Prayer. She felt like more people needed to be made aware of this inspirational story and was further motivated to do something about it when she realized that the book was no longer in print. Dr. Thomas wrote a proposal to develop a Creative Inquiry Class to do further research on Jane Edna Hunter. Her proposal was approved and their first project was to publish an edited and annotated edition of the autobiography. They have plans for a full length documentary, a Jane Edna Hunter Club at Pendleton Elementary School and a Jane E Hunter Walking Trail at Woodburn Historic Home.
Jane Edna Hunter and Clemson University - The Creative Inquiry Class went to Cleveland to do research
Trailer for the Documentary "Jane" - Fundraising Efforts Have Begun For This Project
I am looking forward to this documentary becoming a reality.
Would You Like To Contribute To The Production of the Documentary?
If so, please mail your tax deductible donation to:
The Pendleton Historic Foundation
PO Box 444
Pendleton, SC 29670
(Designate for Jane E Hunter Documentary)
For Online Donations to the Jane Edna Hunter Project
- "Jane" Documentary Film on Jane Edna Hunter Donations
Documentary on amazing life of Jane Edna Hunter, African American activist & reformer who founded Phillis Wheatley Assoc. in Cleveland, OH.
Carol Burdette Talks About The Jane Edna Hunter Project - Fascinating Exhibit at PPIM's 2012 Grits and Gospel Event
Jane Edna Hunter Photos will be a part of the PDC Photo Exhibit - Sponsored by Pendleton District Commission
Dr. Rhondda Thomas spoke in January 2014 as part of the PHF Lecture Series
Last updated on January 9, 2015
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