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Pictured: Malorie Blackman, Zadie Smith, Michael Rosen

Pictured: Malorie Blackman, Zadie Smith, Michael Rosen


Authors Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy, Michael Rosen and Malorie Blackman are supporting a petition seeking to keep nursing heroine Mary Seacole on the national curriculum.

The petition, launched following Education Secretary Michael Gove’s proposal to remove Seacole from the school syllabus, has received a great response as campaigners raise support opposing his proposal.

Operation Black Vote (OBV), a political empowerment organisation, is leading the campaign alongside Hackney Councillor Patrick Vernon. The petition has received support from government ministers including Diane Abbott, David Lammy and London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold. Civil Rights leader Rev.Jesse Jackson and actor Kwame Kwei-Armah have also expressed their support.

Rosemarie Hudson, director of HopeRoad Publishing, said that it would be an injustice to remove a historical icon such as Seacole.

“Children need to be given the whole story of our history, leaving out vital pieces is an injustice. What is Michael Gove hoping to achieve by removing Mary Seacole from the school curriculum? You are wrong Mr Gove. Explain yourself,” she added.

‘Mother Seacole’ as soldiers often referred to her, used natural remedies and applied surgical practices to treat and care for soldiers during the Crimean War despite the racial prejudices she faced. Her role during the war is said to be overshadowed by the nurse Florence Nightingale, who also treated many soldiers during the war. In honour of Seacole’s efforts and developments she made in nursing, a memorial appeal was set up to raise money to erect a statue in her name.

Cllr Patrick Vernon said: “After the successful campaign of the 100 Great Black Britons, where Marcy Seacole was voted the Greatest Black Briton by the public, Michael Grove, Secretary State for Education now wants to remove her from the National Curriculum along with Olaudah Equiano.”

“Please support the petition and stop the Government denying the real history of Britain for future generations of children and young people,” Mr Vernon continued.

Supporters have already left many messages all seeking to keep Mary Seacole on the curriculum so that generations can appreciate this important historical figure. A letter supporting Seacole by the authors, politicians, celebrities and others is published in The Times today.

To sign the petition click here

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