March is Red Cross Month

“For over a century, the American Red Cross has harnessed the generosity of the American people, mobilizing us to offer assistance in the wake of disaster. Whether aiding towns fighting rising floodwaters or nations struggling with starvation and disease, the American Red Cross and its international partners have served during crises across the United States and around the world. During American Red Cross Month, we celebrate our Nation’s humanitarian spirit, and we recommit to providing relief and hope in times of crisis.”

— President Barack Obama, 2011 Proclamation
March is almost here which means it is almost time to celebrate the official Red Cross Month! Just a few days remain before the start of the month, making now the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the work and progress of the American Red Cross across East Georgia and across the nation. It is a time to remember where we started and look ahead to where we are going.    
(Images provided by the American Red Cross national website)  
The American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton in 1881 and received its congressional charter in 1900. The mission from the moment it was established was clear – to provide relief aid after disasters and provide communication services to families with loved ones in the military. In 1943, amidst the turmoil of World War II, the first Red Cross Month was officially proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and March has continued to be acknowledged as so to this day.

(Images provided by the American Red Cross East Georgia website)
Over 100 years after its inception, the American Red Cross aids in almost 70,000 disasters each year. Across the nation and internationally, the Red Cross lends a helping hand with disaster relief by providing shelter, food, basic necessities and emotional support. In addition to disaster relief, the American Red Cross has helped the Armed Forces stay connected with their families and accounts for more than 40 percent of America’s blood supply. With all of these services, the Red Cross remains dedicated to educating communities about preparedness through health and safety training.
Join in celebrating the achievements of the American Red Cross! Follow us on Twitter   and like us on Facebook for updates about our events throughout the month.

– Jessica Wu

The American Red Cross and Black History Month

To honor Black History Month, we thought we would take trip down memory lane and remember the most influential African Americans within the American Red Cross community.
Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and Red Cross supporter
When Clara Barton first established a Red Cross Association in the U.S., she sat at a table with abolitionist Frederick Douglass after the end of the Civil War to discuss the monumental foundation. Douglass was in full support of Barton and continued to support the efforts of the American Red Cross long after its establishment in 1881.
Francis Elliot Davis, American Red Cross nurse
In 1915 Francis Elliott Davis, a professional nurse at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C., applied to serve with the American Red Cross. Although she was turned down the first time, she continued to seek a position with the Red Cross. Finally, in 1917 Davis became the first black nurse approved by the organization. She served as a nurse with the Town and Country Nursing Service.
After World War I, black men and women began to participate even more with the American Red Cross  and small, segregated chapters even began to develop in the South alongside main chapters. U.S. involvement in World War II opened the doors for integration on a national level and the American Red Cross began to make changes in its personnel policies.
The American Red Cross meets with black representatives
In fact, in 1942 the American Red Cross met with black representatives of 13 organizations to discuss the growing role they could serve in the Red Cross. In 1945, Frederick Douglass Patterson became a member of the American Red Cross Central Committee.
Frederick Douglass Patterson (left) meets with American Red Cross Chairman Basil O’Connor (right) and Jesse Thomas (center), special assistant to the director of Domestic Operations of the American Red Cross
This is just a preview to the extensive black history in the American Red Cross. To read more about the historic milestones through time and the influential people involved in bringing about changes in the American Red Cross, visit the online American Red Cross Museum
– Amanda Keuler