Martha Black and the First World War
Keywords:Martha Black, George Black, Lyman Black, Yukon, First World War, Dawson City
The Northern Review 44 (2017): 79–99
The First World War is conventionally perceived as a masculine undertaking. While it is acknowledged that women served as nurses during the great conflict, the numerous ways in which women contributed to the war effort are not often recognized. The people of the Yukon committed themselves totally to the war effort, both through their fundraising efforts and volunteerism. Martha Black is the epitome of this effort. The wife of Commissioner George Black, she organized fundraising efforts and contributed her home and her service to the war effort. When George enlisted and took a company of 500 Yukon volunteers overseas to fight for the Allies, Martha fearlessly accompanied him to England. From the spring of 1917 to August 1919, she volunteered for the Canadian Red Cross, administered the Yukon Comfort Fund, and visited the wounded, sick, and homesick Yukon men. Serving as a Yukon ambassador, she lectured, with great optimism, far and wide in Great Britain about the Yukon, its history, and geography, using her own lantern slides for illustration. This article is part of a special collection of papers originally presented at a conference on “The North and the First World War,” held May 2016 in Whitehorse, Yukon.
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