History 430: Theory and Practice

Document Type

Undergraduate Research

Publication Date

Fall 12-15-2011


Since Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, families and communities have come to expect that in times of need, the Red Cross will be there for them. But in Picher Oklahoma in the 1930s, the Red Cross extended its generosity past the point it needed to be. The comes a point in time when a community needs to take responsibility of its citizens instead of relying on the handouts of others. Today there are millions of people that take advantage of government systems; this was no different during the hardships of the Great Depression in the 1930s. With the town of Picher, not only did the individuals of the community use the Red Cross as their own personal savior, but the other town organizations that were started to help the citizens of Picher also relied on the help of the Red Cross to pick up their slack. In doing so, the Red Cross funds became extremely depleted and caused a strain in the community because the Red Cross was seen as a mere charity and used for continued relief instead of their main objective of rehabilitation of families in temporary distress.