Do you know the story of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican woman who worked alongside Florence Nightingale? Her contributions during the Crimean War allegedly included “treating injured soldiers directly on the battlefield, whereas Nightingale and her nurses were based in a hospital several miles from the front.” As an American, I had not heard of Ms. Seacole until news broke a few weeks ago that Octavia Spencer is attached to star in a film being made about her life. In 2004, Seacole was named the greatest black Briton but efforts to raise awareness of her contributions have run into staunch opposition.
What’s fantastic about this news is it shows that as we have more Black actresses experience success by headlining TV shows or winning Academy Awards, they are then able help move forward other projects about or starring Black women.
By the way, if you are interested in the early days of black film (including silent pictures), check out this Kickstarter restoration project that will showcase not only films starring African Americans but also those “funded, written, produced, directed, distributed, and often exhibited by people of color.”