Black History Month

6 October 2016

Mary SeacoleTaking place every year, Black History Month (BHM) is an event held in the UK, USA and Canada, to recognise important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

During October the Royal Free London is celebrating black history, culture and heritage through a range of events for all of our staff to honour BHM and demonstrating how, with over 100 nationalities of staff, we all value working together.  

Celebrating black nurses

To celebrate the historical contribution black nurses have made to the UK, we have chosen Mary Seacole as our key historical figure for BHM. Affectionately referred to as ‘Mother Seacole’, Mary travelled from her home of Kingston, Jamaica to England in 1854 to volunteer for the Crimean War. She was denied on the basis of her sex and race so made her own way there, nursing wounded and dying soldiers on the battlefield. 

She died in Paddington in 1881 and in 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton. 

Other events taking place in October for all staff to attend include:

  • Our black history day - on Wednesday 12 October Roger Kline, Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) national NHS director will share his personal experiences in addressing race equality. We will also have an historian giving a short synopsis of the history of black culture in the UK and stands displaying artefacts from various cultures.
  • Trip to Liverpool - on Saturday 15 October all staff, their family and friends are invited on a day trip by coach to the Albert Dock Museum in Liverpool.
  • Schwartz round – 'the difficulty of talking about difference: black and minority ethnic experiences at the RFL'. Opportunities to reflect on the emotional aspect of our diverse journey in the workplace take place on 10 and 20 October across our three hospitals. 
  • Diverse dishes week - in the week commencing Monday 10 October all staff canteens will be preparing mouth-watering diverse dishes to celebrate BHM. In previous years our canteens have served up dishes from the Caribbean, Africa and beyond. This year will see even more diverse dishes, alongside classic jerk chicken, rice and peas and soulful chicken soup, to demonstrate the diversity of our workforce.