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Surgical dressing units

Surgical dressing units

These Red Cross members worked on packing surgical dressings to send overseas out of Welcome Hall in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul. The surgical dressings were strips of cloth used to treat wounds and stop the flow of blood. Antibiotics were not in wide use until the late 1940s. Without that important tool to fight bacterial infection, it was incredibly important to keep the dressings sterile and germ-free.

Built in 1916, Welcome Hall Community House was a center of social service for African Americans in St. Paul. African Americans' contributions to the war effort were significant, but along the way they often faced challenges of segregation and discrimination.