She was a black woman, and she flouted convention. In an age that put ladies in the parlor and preferred them to be seen and not heard, she was nursing the British wounded, not in hospital wards with Florence Nightingale but on the Crimean battlefields—and off them, she was running a restaurant and hotel. She purveyed homemade pickles in England; she mined for gold in Panama. For unabashed individuality, Mary Jane Grant Seacole knew no peer. Yet Punch, the Times, the Illustrated London News all ardently touted her, and Queen Victoria herself entertained her. Mary Seacole—childless widow of Horatio Nelson's godson and "good ole Mother Seacole" to the soldiers at Sebastopol—was Britain's first black heroine, and this robust, engaging biography by social historian Jane Robinson shows why. In a narrative driven by colorful adventure, Robinson charts Seacole's amazing odyssey from her native Kingston, Jamaica, to her adopted London, via Panama, where she lent her doctoring and nursing skills to catastrophic outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever, and the Crimea, where she founded the famous British Hotel. Seacole makes numerous other eventful stops along the way, and everywhere, even in the face of disappointment, disaster, and loss, her indomitable spirit prevails.
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During the Victorian era, when women faced enormous social constraints, and black women even more so, Mary Seacole, a native of Jamaica, used her nursing skills, entrepreneurial instincts, and wanderlust to travel from the Caribbean Islands to Panama to Europe. Drawing on Seacole's autobiography, newspaper accounts, and "assorted ephemera," historian Robinson presents a portrait of an extraordinary woman who sought adventure and a means of proving her usefulness. Skilled in the natural healing arts, Seacole ministered to the ailing during the cholera and yellow fever epidemics in the Panama region. She eventually took her skills and eye for business opportunities to the Crimean battlefields. About the same time that Florence Nightingale was gaining a reputation, Seacole was nursing the wounded and operating a renowned restaurant and hotel. A woman of mixed racial heritage, she was the childless widow of Horatio Nelson's godson. ContemporSary black readers may not appreciate Seacole's racial sensibilities, but she was undoubtedly an admirable figure. Vanessa Bush
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Descripción Pub Group West 2004-12-01, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería 20071001124373
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