The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~Chinese Proverb~

Mental health and women in history: Dorothea Dix

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 - March is Women in History month and Dorothea Dix is a mouse that roared.

After witnessing a gross injustice, Dorothea Dix took on U.S. and Canadian legislators to advocate for people who were politically and economically powerless. She worked to relieve the suffering of many, though she could have spent the second half of her life living comfortably without lifting a finger. 

Dorothea Dix was born 1802 to an itinerant Methodist preacher, and a mother thought to be “slow.” The Dix’s were impoverished and the father, Joseph, was an abusive alcoholic. However, he did teach his daughter to read and write. Dorothea functioned as mother and father to her two younger brothers.

At the age of 12, Dix (and her brothers) went to live with their grandmother in Boston. Dorothea did not warm up to her grandmother’s wealthy lifestyle. Grandma was more than a tad unhappy when Dorothea gave some of her new clothes to poor children. Dorothea moved in with her great aunt in Worcester, Massachusetts when she was 14 . . .

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