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Clara Barton: The Heart Of American Red Cross

1165 words - 5 pages

From childhood to death Clara Barton dedicated her life to helping others. She is most notably remembered for her work as a nurse on the battlefield during the Civil War and for the creation of the American Red Cross. Barton was also an advocate for human rights. Equal rights for all men, women, black and white. She worked on the American equal Rights Association and formed relations with civil rights leaders such as Anna Dickensen and Fredric Douglass. Her undeterred determination and selflessness is undoughtably what made her one of the most noteworthy nurses in American history.
Historical Perspective
Clarissa Harlowe Barton, born on December 25, 1821, in North Oxford, Massachusetts. Carissa (Clara) was born the youngest of five children to Sarah and Steven Barton. Clara received all of her schooling and life training from her parents, brothers and sisters. Her father who was a once a captain in a war, taught Clara all he knew about the battlefield. Her mother taught her to sew and cook. Her two older sisters Sally and Dorothy taught her to read before she was four years old. Her brother Stephen taught her arithmetic and David her eldest brother taught her everything else; for instance, how to ride anything on anything with four legs, how to shoot a revolver, how to balance and how to take care of and nurse animals. (OTQEF, 1999, p.1) When Clara was 11 years old her favorite brother David, fell from the roof of the barn while trying to fix it, he was seriously injured and was not expected to live. Clara offered to help him and stayed by his side for three years. Her brother recovered thanks to Clara’s help. These learning experiences gave Clara the drive and determination to achieve anything she set out to do.
Clara achieved many accomplishments in her lifetime, starting with opening one of the first free public schools in Bordentown, New Jersey. Being the first women to work at the United States Patent Office, she was also the first female federal employee.
Clara was 39 years old when the civil war began in 1861 and she was bound and determined to help in any way she could. Seemingly being fought at every turn being told that the battlefield was no place for a woman, Clara considered joining the Army Nurse Corps but was put off by the strict requirements and attitude of Dorthea Dix, so she took matters into her own hands to find a way to help. (Marrow, 1996, p. 2) After the first attack of the Civil War on Fort Sumter, Clara and her sister Sally awaited the train of wounded soldiers. The train arrived and Clara was devastated to see many of her childhood friends injured. The women from town did all they could to help by cutting up old handkerchiefs and dressing wounds with them. It was quite obvious to Clara that much needed to be done to help these soldiers, there were very few doctors and no trained nurses and many of these men had not one single belonging. Clara used her own belongings and her own money to and...

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