Non-Parents Day, 1973, Today & the Future
We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, Secretarys Day--lots of days on which we celebrate different segments of the population. In 1973, the National Organization for Non-Parents (which later become the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, or NAOP) did a bold thing. They picked a day to celebrate those who do not have children.
And they did it like no one had before. NON chose a Male National Non-Parent of the Year, and a Female National Non-Parent of the Year. The winners: Stewart Mott, a 35 year old bachelor and philanthropist and Mrs. Anna Silverman, a 25 year old teacher and co- author (with her husband Arthur) of The Case Against Having Children. They both rode down 5th Avenue in New York on August 2, 1973 in a special open top cab, and were crowned “Non-Parent King and Queen” near the Plaza Hotel to call attention to the fact that they had declared the day before, August 1, Non-Parents Day.
There were other festivities as well. Joan Harriman, the executive coordinator of NON at the time, who had two children of her own, organized a “Consciousness Raising Social” at the Institute for Rational Living, with the National Non-Parents of the Year winners presiding.
As these kinds of festivities might very well be received today, they had mixed reviews by onlookers. According to a New York times article, some looked on with disdain, yet others in the crowd admitted that they’d give parenthood a second thought if they could do it all over again.
NON-NAOP started in the 70s, and existed from 1972 to 1982. A non-profit organization, its purpose was to “educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem." It "advocated having no children (or no more than one child) and not having children at all before the age of twenty-one.” It had three offices in Maryland and Washington D.C. and was funded by some of the most respected foundations, including Rockefeller Brothers and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.Continued on the next page