Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Activity 1: On the Frontlines

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and make copies for yourself and two presenters.
  • Prearrange for two volunteers to present the story. Ask one to read the biographical information on Barton to the group and the other to read the excerpt from Barton's letter. Optional: Invite the volunteer who will read the letter excerpt to dress as Barton.
  • Prepare to project Leader Resource 1, or print a copy to share with the group.
  • Optional: Read about the history of the American Red Cross.

Description of Activity

Project or pass around the portrait of Clara Barton. Read aloud the biographical information about Barton and her letter, or invite volunteers to do so. Ask participants to try to imagine Barton's emotions as she wrote the letter to Gage. Ask them to consider how Barton linked issues of war and peace with women's suffrage. Point out that the start of her opposition to war was the suffering she had witnessed on the battlefield. Ask:

  • How might Barton's relationships in the women's suffrage movement and the peace movement have shaped her work with the Red Cross?
  • How did Barton's Universalist faith and belief that God values and saves all people influence her humanitarian work?