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ERIC Number: EJ874688
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1541-6224
Women in History--Mary Seacole
Harmer, Bonnie
Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, v3 n2 p83-84 Apr 2005
Born in Jamaica in 1805, Mary Seacole (nee Grant), was the daughter of a Black Creole boarding house owner and a Scottish Army officer. Like many Creole doctress women, Seacole was taught African herbal medicine arts from her mother. In addition to understanding traditional herbal medicine, she gleaned an understanding of Western medicine from the British military physicians who were stationed on the island colony. Mother Seacole, as she was affectionately called, garnered an outstanding reputation as a compassionate nurse and a competent doctress as she cared for sick and injured British officers and their families. Widowed by age 40, Seacole's longing for adventure and her entrepreneurial character prompted her to embark on numerous journeys to England and throughout the Caribbean. Carrying jars of homemade West Indian preserves and delicacies to sell en route, and equipped with her medicine chest to treat the ailing, she continually battled social prejudices, thieves, and harsh travel conditions. Recognizing her leadership and expertise, Seacole was invited to assume the supervision of Nursing Services at the Kingston headquarters of the British Army upon her return to Jamaica in 1853. The same year, the British military was deployed to Turkey to battle Russian troops in the Crimean War. Reading reports of the tremendous number of deaths due to cholera and dysentery, Seacole was certain she could be of service. Using her own funds, she crossed the Atlantic to offer her assistance. Seacole's requests to join the campaign in Crimea were refused by British officials on four separate occasions; including once by the young, novice nurse who had been appointed to head the nursing services in Crimea--Florence Nightingale. Seacole became an advocate for the needs of war widows and orphans, a masseuse to the Princess of Wales, and she maintained popularity with the British public until her death in 1881. Despite the recognition bestowed upon Seacole during her lifetime, her name and her story faded with the years into obscurity until being rediscovered in the 1980s. Her autobiography was reprinted in 1988, allowing new generations to read her words, and to recognize her contributions as a courageous, independent woman leader who overcame tremendous barriers in her quest to serve others.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Jamaica; United Kingdom (England)