Jamaica’s Mary Seacole dumped by British Education Secretary

(Jamaica Gleaner) A proposal by the British government to remove the name of Jamaica’s Mary Seacole from the National Curriculum has been met my outrage in the UK.

Already, a Facebook campaign has started and a petition led by Operation Black Vote is being signed, to pressure Britain’s Education Secretary, Michael Gove, from going ahead with his plans. “We are opposed to this and wish to see Mary Seacole retained so that current and future generations can appreciate this important historical person,” says Operation Black Vote in a statement on change.org.

The statement, which has been endorsed by Prof Elizabeth Anionwu – Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, Khi Rafe, Councillor Patrick Vernon – Every Generation Media and Councillor Lester Holloway, says Seacole’ role in the Crimea War fully justifies her status as a Victorian figure taught in schools today.

She was a national heroine on her return to Britain and a crowd of 80,000 attended a four day fundraising benefit in her honour in 1857.

Her inclusion on the National Curriculum came as a result of a tireless campaigning to recognise someone who had become a forgotten figure in modern times.

Her proposed removal can only be attributed to a recent backlash against Mary Seacole as a symbol of ‘political correctness’ by Right-wing media and commentators. To remove Mary Seacole from the National Curriculum is tantamount to rewriting history to fit a world view hostile to Britain’s historical diversity, are the arguments coming from the organisation.

They cautioned that moreover, the teaching of Black historical figures is widely recognised to be beneficial to the success of Black pupils and in closing the GCSE achievement gap. Indeed it is to advantage of pupils from all backgrounds in our increasingly diverse schools and society.  Mary Seacole, as a Jamaican/Scottish figure, is a positive role model and is well-respected in NHS circles.

Sir W. H Russell, Crimean War correspondent for The Times, said of Seacole: “Let England not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.”

Mary Seacole is the only black figure to feature in the National Curriculum not connected to civil rights or enslavement and removing someone who was voted by the public the Greatest Black Briton (100greatblackbritons.com) sends out the wrong signals.

default placeholder

Little enforcement of Jamaica Tobacco Control Act douses its relevance

(Jamaica Observer) It has existed on Jamaican law books for three years now, but the one-time much heralded Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations Act 2013, seems to have virtually gone up in smoke.

default placeholder

Big battle set for key Clico beachfront property in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Battle for No Man’s Land. That is what is shaping up on all fronts—from Government to the Clico owners of the property—as the spotlight continues to increase on one of the last pristine pieces of beachfront in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Died at hospital:
Isaiah Hospedales

T&T student killed for gold chain

(Trinidad Express) A 22-year-old man’s decision to wear a large gold chain while liming with friends on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook cost him his life early Saturday morning when he was ambushed, shot and killed for his jewelry.

default placeholder

Venezuela first lady’s nephews confessed to drug scheme, U.S. says

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady, who face charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, confessed to U.S.

Cristina Fernandez

Former Argentina leader slams corruption probes as political plot

EL CALAFATE, Argentina (Reuters) – Facing corruption probes that threaten to land her behind bars, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described her growing legal troubles as part of a “persecution” of progressive Latin American leaders that has boosted the right in the region.

default placeholder

Venezuela opposition leader Lopez awaits appeal verdict

CARACAS (Reuters) – An appeal hearing into Venezuela’s most prominent jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended yesterday, with he and supporters saying the nearly 14-year sentence for inciting violence should be immediately overturned.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: