The American Red Cross enjoys a long tradition of humanitarian service. The names and contributions of Clara Barton, Mabel Boardman, Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow, and Jane Delano are prominent in our history. Less well-known are the contributions of people of color. Individuals of African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American descent lead our organization as past and present members of our Board of Governors, and are creating legacies as employees, volunteers and donors.
There was a Red Cross presence in Puerto Rico long before the American Red Cross first chartered it in 1917. The Spanish Red Cross founded the Red Cross in Puerto Rico on July 7,1893 when Puerto Rico was still under the dominance of that government. Manuel Fernandez Juncos, a member of the Spanish government and a Spanish Red Cross delegate to Puerto Rico, was tasked with founding "Las Comisiones de la Cruz Roja Espanola" (Spanish Red Cross branches) throughout Puerto Rico. The Spanish Red Cross "Comisiones" (branches) in Puerto Rico remained active until 1898 when the American Red Cross started to make a presence on the island through its Nursing corps.