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Black History Month (1)

Black History Month 2021

This Black History Month, we are celebrating Black history, culture and arts and the contribution Black people have made over the generations. Find out more about some inspirational figures from the Black community and their stories.

Mary Seacole (1)

Mary Seacole

Born in 1805, Mary Seacole spent her formative years in Jamaica. Her father was a white Scottish army officer, while her mother was black. Seacole's mother was a healer who used traditional Jamaican medicines, and as a youngster, Seacole inherited this passion. She used her dolls to practise medicine and became her mother's keen student.

In 1821, she began to travel the world, soaking up medical knowledge at each stop. She sailed to England and asked to be an army nurse to wounded British soldiers in Crimea (now part of Ukraine). The War Office refused her request. Undaunted, she funded her own trip and set up the British Hotel - a place of respite for sick soldiers. She also nursed the wounded on the battlefield.

The soldiers dubbed her 'Mother Seacole' and back in Britain, her popularity rivalled Florence Nightingale.

Diane Abbott (1)

Diane Abbott MP

Diane Julie Abbott MP (born 27th September 1953) is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987. A socialist member of the Labour Party, she served in Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2020. Abbott is the Black woman elected to Parliament, and the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons. Born in Paddington, London W2, to a British Jamaican family, Abbott attended Harrow County Grammar School before reading History at Newnham College, Cambridge. After joining the Civil Service, she worked as a reporter for Thames Television and TV-am before becoming a press officer for the Greater London Council.

Lewis Hamilton (1)

Lewis Hamilton

35 year old Lewis Hamilton was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He began his driving career aged eight and won the British Kart Championship when he was 10. Five years later, he became the youngest ever driver to be ranked number one in the sport.

Hamilton joined McLaren F1 in 2008 - racing for the team had been a childhood goal of his. The following year, Hamilton won his first F1 world drivers' championship, becoming the first Black driver to capture the title.

Hamilton currently holds seven Formula One world titles, joint with Michael Schumacher.

Sir Trevor Mcdonald (1)

Sir Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald was born in Trinidad in 1939.

He cut his teeth at local media outlets, before moving to London and joining the BBC World Service as a producer.

In 1973, he became a reporter for ITN, then went on to become a presenter. During this time, Sir Trevor was one of the few Black people in broadcast television.

He interviewed figures from Nelson Mandela to Saddam Hussein, and became the first sole presenter of News At Ten.

In 1992, Sir Trevor received an OBE in the Queen's Honours List, followed by a knighthood in 1999.

He retired from News At Ten (for the second time) in 2008. By then, he had received more awards than any other news broadcaster in Britain.

Walter Tull (1)

Walter Tull

In 1888, Walter Tull was born in Kent to a Barbadian man and an English woman. Both parents died when Tull was aged nine years old, so he and his brother were brought up in an orphanage.

From 1908, Tull took to football. He was soon signed by Clapham FC, then in following years by Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town.

When the First World War hit, Tull gave up his sporting career and enlisted. He had a successful career fighting in France. In 1916, Tull returned to England and trained to be an officer - the first Black person ever to do so.

Two years later, aged 29, he was killed while leading an attack on German trenches. Tull was recommended for Military Cross after his death, but never received one.