Today is February 1st meaning that it’s the first day of Black History Month. We at Black Chick Media are excited to announce that we’re starting a new daily series called “Black HerStory Month” during the month of February. This series will feature black women, both famous and lesser known, who have had a significant impact on history.
The first woman who gets the honor of having her story told is none other than Mary Seacole.
Born: 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica
Died: May 14, 1881, in Paddington, London, England
Occupation(s): Nurse, Hotelier, Boarding House Keeper, Author, World Traveler
Known For: Assistance to sick and wounded military personnel during the Crimean War
While Mary Seacole isn’t an artist, she’s the inspiration for one of our favorite plays recently, called The Marvelous Adventures of Mary Seacole. The play details her unique life: born to a free Jamaican woman and James Grant, a Scottish Lieutenant in the British Army. Her Jamaican mother was a “doctress” and ran Blundell Hall, considered one of the best hotels in Kingston at the time.
It was during this time that Seacole gained her skills as a nurse that would allow her to aid the wounded soldiers during the Crimean War (1853 – 1856).
She initially applied to the War Office (then the administrative headquarters of the British Army) to aid in the War as a nurse, but due to racial discrimination, she was refused. She ended up traveling independently to the site of the war and set up her hotel and assisted the wounded on the battlefield.
Though she was popular with the military personnel, after her outstanding service, she was forgotten for almost a century. However, today she’s lauded as a woman who defied racial prejudice. She even wrote an autobiography (called Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands) which is one of the earliest autobiographies of a mixed race woman.
This is Mary Seacole’s story.
We hope you enjoyed!