Last week saw the release of the long-overdue book, 100 Great Black Britons written by Patrick Vernon OBE and Dr Angelina Osborne. The authors launched their ground-breaking 100 Great Black Britons campaign in 2003, which invited the public to vote for the Black Briton they most admired and the full list comes to fruition in the book. Voted No.1 Greatest Black Briton by public Internet vote was the little-known Jamaican nurse, Mary Seacole; a statue of Mary was then commissioned and erected in the St Thomas’ Hospital garden in Westminster in 2004.
Racing Green Pictures is to sponsor the 100 Great Black Britons Young People 16-25-year-old category and donate the winning prizes of laptops, school vouchers and books to the winners and runners up. The top prize will be an experiential one, an exciting opportunity for the winners to visit the ‘Seacole’ film set, the edit suite and to meet members of the cast.
Billy Peterson, CEO Racing Green Pictures says, “I am thrilled that the 100 Black Britons is finally released, and that Mary Seacole is No. 1.The story of her life, ‘Seacole’ is a true, socially impactful, humanitarian film about a strong woman of colour persevering against all odds is exactly what today’s audiences are thirsting for. Racing Green plans to invite the winners of the competition to the film set so they can learn through experience how her story will be told. Filming on location is one the best forms of education one can get in moviemaking and I’m excited at the prospect of hosting the winners of this great contest created by Patrick.”
Patrick Vernon OBE comments, “It is a fantastic honour that Racing Green Pictures has agreed to sponsor this category; it is really great news that Billy Peterson is making this film about Mary Seacole, who was voted No.1 Great Black Briton.”
During 2019, UK based studio,Racing Green Pictures began production of the film about her life, entitled ‘Seacole’ due for release 2021. The pandemic halted production early in 2020, but prep for production begins again in November followed by shooting in December/January in the UK. This film will strengthen the importance of including Mary Seacole’s story in curriculums in addition to shining a light on the importance of nurses and healthcare workers around the world. Mary’s life story is not only unimaginable for the time she was living in, it is an instantaneous, universally relevant and an historically accurate portrait of a healthcare heroine who put her life on the line to save others during disaster.
100 Great Black Britons campaign includes a Children and Young people competition, sponsored by NEU where participants are asked to create a unique project celebrating Black Britons and their legacy. Open to all age groups, it is a fantastic way to explore Black British History and multicultural Britain. Entries for the competition are now open on www.100greatblackbritons.co.uk
‘Seacole’ is an historical drama about the legendary Mary Seacole (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who defied discrimination to nurse British soldiers during the Crimean War and found herself at odds with Florence Nightingale, (Sylvia Hoeks). The film focuses her on the period of her life following the death of her husband in Jamaica, a merchant named Edwin Seacole and when she made the decision to dedicate her life to care for the sick and wounded. In 1854, after the war began, Seacole travelled to London, England where she applied to be a nurse to the Crimean Fund, the British Army and Florence Nightingale’s nursing team but she was rejected and rebuffed by all so using her own funds decided to undertake her mission directly to the battlefield in Crimea.
At that time, her Caribbean wayward friend Thomas Day (played by Sam Worthington) arrived in London and they formed a partnership preparing for the journey and finally setting off in by ship in 1855 to the Crimea. Although the battles had been fought in 1854, they set about building The British Hotel (aka the Iron House/Mrs. Seacole’s). Mary became a central heroine, during the war, caring and nursing for wounded, sick soldiers and became a symbol of hope to those British soldiers who gave her the name, Mother Seacole.