On 30th June, a statue of nurse Mary Seacole, who cared for soldiers wounded in the 19th century Crimean war, was unveiled. This statue is the first historic memorial of a black woman in the UK.
Sickle Cell Society patron Professor Elizabeth Anionwu has been an active participant in the campaign for Mary Seacole to be honoured for many years, and was at the unveiling.
Also present were Baroness Benjamin and Baron Boateng, both long-serving patrons of the Sickle Cell Society, and the Society’s CEO, John James. Baroness Benjamin presided over the unveiling ceremony.
See below for pictures of this joyful, historic day!
Mary Seacole was Jamaican-born and studied and travelled widely. In 1854 she travelled to England and asked to be an army nurse in Crimea. She was refused, but Mary Seacole was a remarkable woman and didn’t give up–she went anyway. She was known as Mother Seacole.
Mary Seacole made her own way as a black woman and saved many lives.
Professor Elizabeth Anionwu said of the statue: “For somebody like myself, a nurse of mixed heritage – Mary was Jamaican-Scottish, I’m Nigerian-Irish heritage – there’s a link there. I have an eight-year-old granddaughter, and at last youngsters will be able to see a beautiful monument that they can identify with.”
See the statue for yourself at St Thomas’s Hospital, London.