Vashti Cromwell McCollum

Vashti Cromwell McCollum  was an American mother who fought and won a landmark decision in the US Supreme Court against the teaching of religion in schools in 1948. Born in New York in 1912, she lived with her husband and three sons in Champaign Illinois. Their comfortable life was changed by her objection to religious pressure and unpleasantness experienced by her eldest son in his local public school.

She became associated with the Freedom from Religion Foundation and American Humanist Association for whom she served 2 terms as President. She wrote of her experiences in One Woman's Fight in 1951 during her long campaign she and her family suffered abuse and harassment at the hands of vandals. Exerpts from the chapter Christian Halloween are reprinted in Women Without Superstition "No Gods, No Masters" edited by Annie Laurie Gaylor. She starts:-

'The phone calls were bad enough, and so were some of the letters, but the biggest attack on us came in person on Halloween......Nightly we were serenaded by the teen-age crown singing, "Onward Christian Soldiers"....The next day was a bad one right from the beginning......" it was reported in the local paper as "McCollum Home Target" and by a local minister as "Christian Halloween".