Mary Seacole’s inclusion might be regarded by some as tokenism. That would be unfair. The site also features work on Rosa Parks and others. The reason Mary is included is mainly because it helps children to understand that there are different interpretations of the past and what is seen as important. By asking children to compare the different achievements of Mary and Florence and to consider how they might each be commemorated, we help them to consider important issues of justice, rights and fairness.
At one stage, resources for teaching about Mary were not very infant-friendly. All that has changed. Now we have the Channel Four TV programme and supporting book as a strong starting point. The lessons go beyond the texts and asks children to work out for themselves why they think Mary ought to be remembered, and what they can do about it. They evaluate what they think were her greatest achievements and then consider the most fitting way of remembering her, perhaps drawing on earlier work on other famous people.
A rich variety of helpful resources on Mary Seacole can be found at www.mylearning.org