Day nurseries, she insisted, would provide a place for children to go while their mothers worked. In the speech, Butler spoke of absent parents but clearly focused on absent mothers "obliged to be away from home in order that they may earn an honest living." Butler argued not that these mothers should be home with their children, but that working mothers needed the societal support of day nurseries. Rose Morehead Bass, during that same session, argued for the establishment of kindergartens not only to provide a place for young children to be but also to give them training in their formative years (66-67). These proposals represented a shift in focus from the in-home role for women prescribed by Laney and others to institutionalized uplift.

     Adella Hunt Logan's speech, "Prenatal and Hereditary Influences," was presented that evening at a joint session presided over by President Bumstead. As had the papers during the women's session that afternoon, Logan's lecture argued for attention to early development of children and even to in utero influences that could shape personality. Logan had completed the normal course at Atlanta University in 1881 and eventually taught at Tuskegee Institute. She was active in the Tuskegee Women's Club, the National Association of Colored Women, and the National American Woman Suffrage Association, supporting education and health care for children. In this speech Logan ascribed a great deal to heredity, reaching back several generations to account for physical, social, and moral inadequacies: "We are to-day reaping what was sown, not by our fathers alone, but by their fathers and grandfathers" (38). [11]  Logan strongly urged early prenatal care, even recommending that the expectant mother monitor her thoughts lest they have a negative influence on the unborn child. The speeches delivered at this second Atlanta University Conference centered on the important work of mothering both boys and girls and began to pay attention not only to the racial uplift work of motherhood but also to the support of working mothers.

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August 1999