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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mary Seacole - Courageous Jamaican Nurse

Mary Jane Grant was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother a Jamaican. Mary learned her nursing skills from her mother, who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers. Although technically 'free', being of mixed race, Mary and her family had few civil rights - they could not vote, hold public office or enter the professions. In 1836, Mary married Edwin Seacole but the marriage was short-lived as he died in 1844.

In 1854 Seacole travelled to England again, and approached the War Office, asking to be sent as an army nurse to the Crimea where there was known to be poor medical facilities for wounded soldiers. She was refused.

Undaunted Seacole funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide 'a mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers'. She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as 'Mother Seacole'. Her reputation rivaled that of Florence Nightingale.


MrsYFA said...

This is a good story, I'd never heard of her.

iriegal said...

Mary Seacole was someone I first learned about in grade school. She is the Florence Nightingale of Jamaica. What the story did not state was that she also suffered many indignations for her position as a female,in military service.

It was still a semi-servitude life, but she so loved helping people.

Stay Blessed..