The Lockdown Chronicles 29: Mary Jane

This is just a thumbnail. To go to the comic strip, click on the blog post URL.

Click on the image below to read the comic strip in full size. Sources and references on this post under the comic strip below.

Mary Jane wanted to be a nurse.
Click on image for full size.

Mary Seacole (née Mary Jane Grant, 1805, Kingston, Jamaica – 1881, London, UK), businesswoman who provided sustenance and care for British soldiers at the battlefront during the Crimean War. Despite her nursing experience during a cholera epidemic in Panama and in Jamaica caring for yellow fever victims, her offers to serve as an army nurse were refused. She attributed her rejection to racial prejudice (Seacole 1857: 74-80). After her death she fell into obscurity but in 2004 took first place in the 100 Great Black Britons poll in the UK. [Wikipedia entry] [Britannica entry]

In a 2014 letter to the Guardian, Professor Lynn McDonald, editor of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, wrote of Seacole that “[y]es, she was kind and generous, to ordinary soldiers as well as officers. These are good qualities, but not the sort that saves lives or pioneers health care” (Monday 27 October 2014).

It seems to me, as a humble reader, that all these years after her death Mary Seacole keeps suffering from the rejection she described experiencing in her 1857 autobiography (see chapter VIII).

Text sources: Syal, R. (18 May 2020) “Points-based UK immigration bill passes initial Commons stage”. The Guardian; Sparrow, A., Murphy, S. and Perraudin, F. (19 May 2020) “UK coronavirus live: excess deaths reached almost 55,000 in early May, says ONS”. The Guardian; Sample, I. (18 May 2020) “Over three-quarters of BAME doctors fear they will contract Covid-19”. The Guardian; Seacole, M. (2003)[1857] Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, via Project Gutenberg.

Source image: Photograph of Mary Seacole c. 1873, unknown photographer, Maull & Company London, in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer, via Wikimedia Commons. This comic strip CC-BY-NC-SA.

References

Syal, R. (18 May 2020) “Points-based UK immigration bill passes initial Commons stage”. The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/18/points-based-uk-immigration-bill-passed-by-parliament [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Sparrow, A., Murphy, S. and Perraudin, F. (19 May 2020) “UK coronavirus live: excess deaths reached almost 55,000 in early May, says ONS”. The Guardian; Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/may/19/uk-coronavirus-live-latest-updates [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Sample, I. (18 May 2020) “Over three-quarters of BAME doctors fear they will contract Covid-19”. The Guardian; Available at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/18/over-three-quarters-of-bame-doctors-fear-they-will-contract-covid-19 [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Seacole, M. (2003)[1857] Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, via Project Gutenberg. Available at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23031/23031-h/23031-h.htm [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Photograph of Mary Seacole c.1873, unknown photographer, Maull & Company London, via Wikimedia Commons, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seacole_photo.jpg [Accessed 19 May 2020].

The Lockdown Chronicles is a series of periodical comic strips made at night (in candlelight!) adapting and reusing openly-licensed or public domain items from online digital collections. Publication and tweetage are scheduled in advance. Historical sources are adapted and updated for the current pandemic; please refer to each strip’s references on each post for further context.  Catch up with the series at https://epriego.blog/tag/the-lockdown-chronicles/.