• Selei Cho

Mary Seacole



Throughout the course of history, people tend to forget vital historical figures. One of these people is Mary Seacole (Mary Jane Grant): the British-Jamaican woman who paved her own pathway into assisting with the Crimean War.


First, who is Mary Seacole? She originates from Jamaica where she spent much of her time learning her mother’s nursing techniques. Her father on the other hand, originates from England, making her a mixed race woman. Eventually, she moved and resided in England. She married Edwin Horatio Seacole in 1836, taking his last name rather than keeping her maiden name. Sadly, their marriage lasted shortly as Edwin Seacole passed away in 1844.


Now, what did she actually do to deserve so much praise? Obviously, discrimination flourished in the 1800’s. Even now, many people of color suffer from backhanded discrimination. So, imagine how difficult Seacole’s journey to the Crimean Peninsula must have been under such unfair conditions. When the Crimean War began in 1853, Mary Seacole offered her services and applied to the Florence Nightingale’s nursing team. Of course, they refused her.


In any situation like hers, I believe many would feel disheartened. Perhaps quit the venture right on the spot.


So, what did Mary Seacole do instead of quitting?


She funded her own trip to the Crimean Peninsula. How? By opening the British Hotel with her relative! Imagine how powerful her determination must be to tread through! Being a woman who knows her abilities but is unrecognized must be heartbreaking to some. Self-worth laid strong in Seacole though, and she managed to take care of the many sick men who came to her. During her time at the Crimean Peninsula, she sometimes nursed the wounded while the battlefield was under fire. Many soldiers then looked up to her as a mother figure which earned her the title of “Mother Seacole”.


Although she helped many and bent over backwards in order to heal the wounded, not many recognize Mary Seacole or her vast accomplishments. Doing something so extraordinary like opening a hotel is toilsome. Especially if you are a mixed race woman living in the 1800’s. Not only should Seacole be praised for her powerful demeanor but amazing role model figure as well. She sets a great example of how anything is possible.


I hope that by reading this, many of you will become curious as to who she is. This blog post is only scratching the surface.


http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/maryseacole

https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/seacole_mary.shtml

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