Black History and the Myth of Mary Seacole

By | 23rd October 2016

Mrs Seacole might be celebrated as a Black entrepreneur. For much of her life, until her health failed, she was a successful businesswoman and an adventurous traveller. Her kindness and generosity are well-documented. They are reflected in the support for two public appeals when she fell on hard times. In the way of her business, she sold a variety of home and patent remedies, as many grocers did before English pharmacy began to be regulated in 1852. She certainly provided the kind of domestic nursing and first aid that women have done since time immemorial. But this does not make her a founder of nursing as a profession. Too many people who ought to know better have preferred to print the legend rather than respect the evidence.

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