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Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Month On The History Girls

This is Black History Month and not only the US is celebrating it. If you drop in at the History Girls blog, you'll find, so far, two fascinating posts about the black population of England in history and the suggestion that the racism was actually not as bad back then as it is now.

 Yesterday's post was about Mary Seacole, the "other" nurse of the Crimean War, turned down by Florence Nightingale - probably for class reasons rather than race (she was half-Jamaican, half Scottish) - who made her own way there and ran her own mission. She didn't care which side of the war her patients were on, either. She called them all her "sons". When she got back to England, she was broke, but her "sons" rallied around and made sure she was okay. And she wrote a book! I have downloaded it from Project Gutenberg and started reading it. The introduction is by a journalist who was there during the Crimean War and assumed EVERYBODY had heard of her. So she was a celebrity in her time.

Today there's a post about the black population during the eighteenth century, which is only mentioned occasionally, but was there. It would have just been assumed the readers knew. There is mention of black crooks, such as the highwayman who complained that with 1000 blacks in London, why were they picking on him? There is testimony from a woman who was up before the old Bailey - and a connection to the Old Bailey web site. There's a slight error in the link, which should be .org, not .com, but that should be fixed soon. I have bookmarked it for future reference, in case I need to do some research for my fiction - or non-fiction.

The women who write for this site are all successful historical novelists who are thorough in their research and offer some great links as well as sharing what they have found. They range from the Crimean War to ancient Rome, including children's fiction - in other words, something for everyone. Why reinvent the wheel?

Why not go check it out if you're not already following it? Even if you're not a writer, there will be something for you, including information about the authors' books.

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