Heroes of the American Red Cross
In honor of the 139th anniversary of the founding of the Red Cross, I would like to focus this week’s post on the contributions of women to the medical field. Throughout history, women serve as the moral backbone of many social movements in the United States, from both the abolitionist and suffrage movements of the 19th century to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too platforms of today.
The medical field is no exception. The history of the American Red Cross is an inspirational example of women’s contributions to humanity. Their courage, cooperation and perseverance propelled the Red Cross to become one of the most impactful humanitarian organizations in the world.
Clara Barton (1821-1912) founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and was president of the organization until 1904. During the Civil War, like many women she had a deep desire to help the wounded and dying soldiers who were fighting on the battlefields. As a nurse for the Union Army, she risked her life daily to help thousands of men suffering through the trauma of war. This included bringing supplies and support to the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the all-African American regiment recruited by Frederick Douglass. Her compassion and dedication during this turbulent time earned her the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.”