Inspiring People - Mary Seacole
By Yvonne Hamilton - 3 November 2022
A few people from around Worth Unlimited have agreed to tell us about someone who inspires them. Yvonne Hamilton is next.
Have you heard of Mary Seacole? No? But I'm sure most of you have heard of Florence Nightingale.
Mary was a female, multiracial entrepreneur born over 150 years ago. She traveled to many countries to run businesses and help people in need. Mary was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Her father was a Scottish soldier and her mother was a free Jamaican. Mary’s mother ran a hotel where injured soldiers would stay. She taught Mary how to use plants to help care for the soldiers. At that time, Cholera (a water born disease), was spreading in Kingston and Mary used her healing skills to help. In the Crimean war, thousands of British soldiers died from Cholera, it became more of a risk than dying in battle. Mary wanted to go to Crimea as a nurse but she was refused by the War Office despite having adequate references. So, she used her own money to travel and then set up a hotel by the battlefront (The British Hotel), where she sold hot food and cared for the wounded and sick soldiers. As she was funding this herself ,she became very poor at the end of the war in 1856 and so she wrote a book called ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ to help with her debts. After, Mary died in 1881 she was totally forgotten. Her grave was undiscovered until 1973 but historians had researched and documented plenty about Florence Nightingale. After much controversy and petitioning, Mary Seacole remains on the National Curriculum however there is no requirement that she is included in lessons.
As the young Rapper Dave says in his song “Black”:
“Black is struggling to find your history or trace the s…
You don’t know the truth about your race ‘cause they erasin’ it”
I believe Mary was very determined, caring, kind and had a mindset
“by any means possible” which I very much admire.