Mary Seacole, Opened a British Hotel to Help Sick and Wounded Officers of the Crimean War

1 Posted by - October 15, 2018 - BLACK WOMEN, Blacks In Medicine, LATEST POSTS

was a Jamaican-born woman of Scottish and Creole descent. She set up a British Hotel behind the lines during the Crimean War, which she called a “mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and wounded officers.” In 2004 Seacole was voted the greatest Briton. Legally, Seacole was classified as mulatto, which allowed her to have some political rights. Although, there were speculations that she might have been quadroon. She was very proud of her black ancestry, and troubled by the taking place in the United States.

Seacole was born Mary Jane Grant in Kingston, Jamaica. She was the daughter of a Scottish soldier in the British Army and a free Jamaican woman. Her mother was a healer who used traditional Caribbean and African herbal remedies. Seacole learned most of her nursing skills from her mother. As a young child she would practice medicine on her dolls and pets, until later when she was allowed to help her mother treat humans. She spent years in the household of an elderly woman before moving back home. While with the lady she was treated as a member of the family and received a good education.

The Crimean War lasted from 1853 to 1856. Seacole traveled from Navy Bay in Panama to England, originally to deal with her gold-mining business. She tried to join the contingent of nurses, and applied to the Crimean Fund, a fund raised by public subscription to support the wounded in Crimea. She needed the funding for sponsorship to travel,  but she was met with refusal. So, Seacole made plans to finance the trip and to open up her British Hotel to help the soldiers on her own. She planned well-in-advance by printing up information to send out acknowledging the hotel.  Seacole helped all that were in need of aid. Whether the soldiers were hungry, cold, wounded, or sick they could receive help from her at the hotel.

There have been many people who have tried to provoke Seacole’s recognition and nursing services she provided to the soldiers. It has been argued that she was promoted at the expense of Florence Nightingale, and to promote multiculturalism. But, several people including the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote a letter to The Times protesting removing from the National Curriculum.

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