Women During the Civil War

Topics: African American, American Civil War, Black people Pages: 4 (1257 words) Published: December 11, 2005
Women During the Civil War
" ‘I want something to do…' ‘Write a book,' Qouth the author of my being. ‘Don't know enough, sir. First live, then write.' ‘Try teaching again,' suggested my mother. ‘No thank you, ma'am, ten years of that is enough.' ‘Take a husband like my Darby, and fulfill your mission,' said sister Joan. ‘Can't afford expensive luxuries, Mrs. Coobiddy.' ‘Go nurse the soldiers,' said my young brother, Tom. ‘I will!' (Harper 14)." This is a dialog of Louisa May Alcott with her relatives. Miss Alcott, like many other African American women, helped serve in the Civil War. During the Civil War, Miss Alcott held a variety of jobs. Mainly working as a writer, she held positions as a nurse, teacher, and volunteered in Soldiers' Aid Societies (Harper 14). These were just a sample of jobs that African American women occupied during the Civil War.

African American women, free or enslaved, found the Civil War to be a chance for them to break out of bondage. It was a point in their lives where they had a chance to find freedom. Although they knew they wouldn't be able to directly influence this chance, they did have an opportunity to make an impact. While their husbands, fathers, or male relatives were out fighting the war, African American women had to find a way to support their families. African American women worked as nurses, domestic servants, laundresses, cooks, seamstresses, and operated boarding houses. They also managed to continue the education of young people by being teachers, volunteered at churches, and created literary and moral improvement societies. The most common job of African American women during the Civil War was nursing. African American women were usually the backbone of hospital staffs. Almost half of the staffs were black because they were either slaves who were made to do the work or they were free black women trying to earn an income. Most African American women supplied aid to black troops only, but there were few...
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