National Hero : Mary Seacole
Mary Jane Seacole (1805 – 14 May 1881) was a British-Jamaican business woman and nurse who set up the "British Hotel" behind the lines during the Crimean War.
Mary learned her nursing skills from her mother, who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers. Although technically 'free', being of mixed race, Mary and her family had few civil rights - they could not vote, hold public office or enter the professions. In 1836, Mary married Edwin Seacole but the marriage was short-lived as he died in 1844.
Coming from a tradition of Jamaican and West African "doctresses", Seacole used herbal remedies to nurse soldiers back to health.
She was voted into first place in an online poll of 100 Great Black Britons in 2004. The portrait identified as Seacole in 2005 was used for one of ten first-class stamps showing important Britons, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery.
She was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991. In 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton.
Sadé Magazine available here