BHM Biographies: Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole is the third in our series of amazing Black women of history.

Mary is credited with nursing many soldiers back to health during the Crimea war, using her Jamaican doctress skills and herbal remedies. However, her heroics have largely been forgotten and she is often eclipsed by another famous nurse, Florence Nightingale. Of course, this is due to systematic racism. While living in Britain in the 1800s Mary was constantly racially harassed. She applied several times to be sent to help the wounded in Crimea and she was refused, even by Nightingale. But this did not stop her, she quickly funded her own trip to help in the war. When she arrived, she started the ‘British Hotel’, due to her lack of help and resources she built this out of abandoned metal and wood, in order to help as many sick soldiers as she could. Seacole suffered through all types of weather to help the soldiers and was so appreciated she became known as ‘Mother Seacole’. Although her bravery and efforts led her to royal circles, after her death she was erased from history, however, Mary is an impressive figure of the past. Her selflessness and her relentlessness in the face of adversity saved many, many lives. She must not be forgotten.

Writing and artwork by Verity Germon.

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