Esteemed thinker: first woman doctor-Elizabeth Blackwell

Paris. Edith Cavell Memorial Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Paris. Dr. Girard Mangin, Directress of Hospital, in foreground, is the only woman doctor in French army

Today’s post is a tribute to Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910), the first woman in America to receive a medical degree and a champion for woman to enter the medical profession.

Born near Bristol, England on February 3, 1821, Blackwell was the third of nine children of Hannah Lane and Samuel Blackwell, a sugar refiner, Quaker, and anti-slavery activist.

She faced discrimination and obstacles in college: professors forced her to sit separately at lectures and often excluded her from labs; local townspeople shunned her as a “bad” woman for defying her gender role. She eventually earned the respect of professors and classmates, graduating first in her class in 1849. 

It Happened Here: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell - NewYork-Presbyterian

In recognition to her dedication and courage, as well as a thank you to all health care workers of all genders; I wish to share my poem.

Ode to Elizabeth Blackwell

Who are you, simple woman?
You- A child of Bristol with a sweet voice like gentle rain
You that pranced and played with nine siblings
Scattering up the ashes of your burned home
As carefree as dust on the bottom of your soles

You -who knew your form was as worthy as a male
Found your spirit like a caged bird set free
As tireless as an old seaman rolling over perilous surf
Soaking up knowledge like a falling rain upon parched soil
True conqueror were you young Bess

You -A fair bonneted woman challenged the system
Crossing into the great males’ territory
Like the velvet bloom on a thorny cactus
You blossomed and flourished, invading the watch fires
Oh woman warrior, you freed the way for your sisters.

First image: Portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell

Poem by NL Avery USA

Second image: Edith Cavell Memorial Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Paris. Dr. Girard Mangin, Directress of Hospital, in foreground, is the only woman doctor in French army Paris

Heroism and Memorial Day go hand- in- hand

Memorial Day draws us closer to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and democracy; their lives. Words often do not give justice to the thanks and gratitude we feel and wish to offer these great women and men of the armed forces. As we enter into reflection, a characteristic that comes into our minds is Heroism; a word that we can define with both commonalities and personal experiences; rediscovered when we unite together or rekindled within our own private solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about Heroism; here are some of his words that grants recognition as we pay tribute to our fallen heroes.

Our_Banner_in_the_Sky_1861 “…Self-trust is the essence of heroism. It is the state of the soul at war, and its ultimate objects are the last defiance of falsehood and wrong, and the power to bear all that can be inflicted by evil agents. It speaks the truth, and is just, generous, hospitable, temperate, scornful of petty calculations, and scornful of being scorned. It persists; it is of an undaunted boldness, and of a fortitude not to be wearied out…these men (and women) fan the flame of human love, and raise the standard of civil virtue among mankind. …”

With these words from Emerson and those from our hearts, let us pay tribute to our fallen soldiers and pay homage to their valor.