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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 11:01 GMT
Nurse named greatest black Briton
A nurse who helped dying soldiers in the Crimean War has been voted the greatest black Briton.

Mary Seacole topped the list of 100 prominent black figures after a three-month survey that attracted 100,000 votes in total.

The survey came in response to the BBC's Great Britons debate, which was eventually won by Winston Churchill but had no black people in the top 100.

Seacole's work is often overshadowed by that of her contemporary Florence Nightingale.

TOP 10 GREAT BLACK BRITONS
1. Mary Seacole - nurse in the Crimean War
2. Wilfred Wood - first black bishop
2. OA Lyseight - religious leader
3. Mary Prince - writer
4. Olaudah Equiano - political activist
5. Queen Phillipa - wife of Edward III
6. Courtney Pine - jazz saxophonist
7. Sir Bill Morris - union leader 7. Sir Trevor McDonald - newsreader
8. Dame Shirley Bassey - singer
9. Bernie Grant - Labour MP
10. Professor Stuart Hall - sociologist.

"The popularity and success of the campaign highlights the fact that black history in Britain is intertwined with British history," said Patrick Vernon, founder of black heritage website Every Generation, who organised the poll.

Also in the top 10 were singer Dame Shirley Bassey, newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald and jazz musician Courtney Pine.

The win was applauded by the president of the Royal College of Nursing, Sylvia Denton, who called for a statue to be put up in London in her honour.

"As a black Jamaican woman in the 19th century, Mary Seacole stood up against the discrimination and prejudices she encountered.

"Against all odds, Mary had an unshakeable belief in the power of nursing to make a difference.

'Mother Seacole'

"I believe she embraces the 'essence of humanity', qualities that we can still learn from in today's society," she added.

Seacole (1805-1881) travelled to the Crimea on her own after the government rejected her offer of help.

She opened her British Hotel in 1855, where the army soon came to know her as "Mother Seacole", and she was later awarded a Crimean medal for her work.

Other figures in the top 100 include murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, musician Ms Dynamite, athlete Daley Thompson, comedian Lenny Henry and novelist Zadie Smith.


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