Mary Seacole - Quotes
Mary Seacole has certainly left her mark and reminds me of the Black American Adage - ‘God gives you the gift of Life what you do with your life is your gift to God.’ She suffered much hardship and possibly at times sense, the enormity of the challenges which she faced with good humour and charm. With each year that has passed we learn more about her life and experience her humanity. Despite the oppression and prejudice which prevailed. Long may she live on in all of our hearts.
Well Placed were delighted to contact various networks to get these perspectives on this very important Caribbean heroine.
"Mary Seacole made her mark on British history as a woman who refused to let racial prejudice prevent her from becoming a nursing pioneer. As such she is an inspiration to all of us, and this is reflected in her being voted as the Greatest Black Briton. After a century of obscurity, her light shines once more. Her efforts to bring comfort to the dying and wounded soldiers in the Crimea is her lasting legacy."
Patrick Vernon founder of the 100 great black Britons website www.everygeneration.co.uk
"The Mary Seacole story is an example of outstanding personal courage and determination as well as the stupidity of racism. Her story resonates with black people today who wish to contribute to society but are held back by the latent and blatant prejudice of the British state. Black nurses in the 1950's overcame similar obstacles and in 2005 one wonders how many potential Mary Seacoles now experience the 'welcome' reserved for immigrants and refugees."
100 Black Men of London Director of Education Tony Warner
"Mary Seacole was a Jamaican and an unsung Crimean war heroine, who defied the many obstructions to the achievement of her aspirations in caring for the sick and well . She demonstrated tenacity, endearment, courage and commitment in all she did. Mary has left the nursing profession with a legacy to be treasured. Indeed she has been an influence and role model not only to Ethnic Minority Nurses but to the medical profession as a whole. We must continue to remember her".
Celia Grandison-Markey, President of The Nurses Association of Jamaica (UK)
"I never heard about her when I was at school. It is a shame that she was a forgotten heroine. We must keep her memories uppermost in nursing history remembering that Florence Nightingale was not the only quided light".
Charmaine Case, Chair London Branch of Nurses Association of Jamaica
"Mary's dedication to her profession and her strength of Character to defy racism in her time, is an inspiration to us all. She is a role model who we can look up to with pride."
"Mary Seacole was a woman of courage, a woman of confidence, a woman of bravery and determination. An excellent Role Model."
"Mary Seacole was a Jamaican. She was a role model for black nurses in England. She served during the Crimean War and has been a forgotten hero."
"Mary Seacole has been a 'tall poppy' in my estimation for many years. In the 1980's, she featured significantly in my teaching of the history of Nursing to one of the pre-registration Nursing pilot groups for Project 2000 (which in itself was a historical event in the history of nurse education). These students were so enthused by Mary's example of service and dedication as a nurse, that they insisted on attending the dramatic portrayal of Mary's life at the Midlands Art Centre as part of their course. The play was called 'The Black Nightingale'. It was memorable for us all and we should celebrate her memory at every opportunity. She should take her rightful place alongside the commemoration Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey during Nurses Week."
Roswyn Hakesley-Brown, Former President Royal College of Nurses
"Although it is an historical fact that Mary Seacole co-existed and was co-equal in terms of her expertise and knowledge in the field of nursing to Florence Nightingale it has taken many years for her to be recognised and acknowledged. This demonstrates that there are equally many expert black nurses who have yet to be acknowledged or recognised for who they are and what they can offer.
It is however promising and encouraging knowing that this is being addressed in the 21st century. There is an increasing amount of expert black nurses being excavated from obscurity, polished and exposed to senior roles in the NHS in acknowledgement of their skills and wealth of experience just like Mary Seacole. Therefore the challenge to all black nurses is to seize the opportunities, overcome the obstacles and raise to the challenges of becoming more prominent in your field of practice, because just like Mary Seacole, your light cannot be hidden for too long."
Joan Myers, Nurse Consultant Community Children’s Nursing
"The Mary Seacole Memorial Association (MSMA), now in its 21st year, has long since played a pivotal role in keeping the name of Mary Seacole alive. Over the years MSMA has advised the Department of Health, and other key organisations on the unique contribution that Mary Seacole made to the health care of soldiers in the early 20th Century.
I am pleased to see that this Exhibition is highlighting the work and achievements of Mary Seacole in this her Celebratory Bicentennial Year".
Dr Nola Ishmael OBE, Public Relations Officer Mary Seacole Memorial Association
Adviser to the Department of Health
Committee Member of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal
"Mary Seacole's life is proof that it is possible to transcend the boundaries set for us by others. Set your own goals then reach for them."
Fowokan George Kelly Sculpture and Artiste Mary Seacole Bust
"I launched the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal in the House of Commons because I felt that many people were unaware of the contribution of ethnic minorities throughout British history, and especially during the industrial revolution and empire. Britain’s armed forces still depend on the qualities. Mary had in abundance, most notably her firmness of purpose and physical courage. But they also embody a level of professional training that is second to none. Mary Seacole would have appreciated those core qualities and recognized the importance we attach to them today."
Clive Soley MP, Chairman of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal Committee
"Here we are in the 21st century getting excited about the achievements of women, when Mary Seacole, a nurse who lived over two hundred years ago travelled by herself from Jamaica by ship, lasting several months. She arrived in England with the determination to help England with the Crimean War effort. When the doors were slammed in her face, and polite rejections followed, she knew what was in her heart and did not lose her focus.
She was not swayed by racism or bigotry. She saw humanity in need, and wanted to do something to help.
She shows me determination in the face of rejection and opposition. For her care and love of humanity, she was later praised for her endeavours on the battlefield by those soldiers."
Nardia Foster, Author of Out of Slavery Redcliffe Publishers
"Mary Seacole was a nurse in the Crimean war and changed many lives during her life. This historic woman means allot to me and our culture, one of the main reasons is that she, to me is the most caring and forgiving person to ever set foot on this Earth. Mary Seacole did not come from a wealthy family or have any formal training at all. Mary did have some training but from her mother who should be given a medal for what she taught her. Mary herself in her own way told people that black citizens can also be legendary in their own way and can be remembered for eternity. Mary Seacole has indeed gone down in history for many reasons and will always be loved for what she did in the Crimean war. I am delighted that Mary Seacole was black and from the Caribbean because at school all we hear about is Florence Nightingale so I feel extremely proud that a black citizen has also made history and so have a lot of other, people but Mary Seacole is my inspiration."
Almaz Thomas. age 10, forwarded by her mother Sonia WInnifred