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Amilcar Priestley

was born in St. Lucy, Barbados, on 15 November 1916. She was the second child and eldest daughter of her parents’ five children. Her father was the Reverend Reginald Barrow, a controversial Anglican priest who gave sermons against racism and social stratification, which resulted in his dismissal from his post in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Her mother was Ruth O’Neal Barrow, sister of Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal, who was the founder of the Democratic League and is regarded as a national hero of Barbados. After attending primary school in St. Croix, where her father had a congregation, she entered St. Michael’s Girls’ School in Barbados—the island’s first high school to accept girls—in 1928. After graduating in 1934 she began a career in nursing first at the Barbados General Hospital then as a midwife at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and later as ...


Nicolás Ocaranza

slave and wet nurse for the South American revolutionary Simón Bolívar, was born on 13 August 1763 in San Mateo, Aragua State, in the general captaincy of Venezuela. She was best known as la negra Hipólita (Black Hipólita), and lived much of her life in San Mateo State, where the Bolívar family had sugar plantations dependent on black slave labor.

From 1773, at around age 10, Hipólita served as a domestic servant in the household of Juan Vicente Bolívar and Maria de la Concepcion Palacios y Blanco, the parents of Simón Bolívar, who owned over two hundred slaves across several estates engaged in mining and the cultivation of cacao. As was the custom in a society based on slavery, Hipólita took her master’s last name as her own.

In 1781 the Bolívar family moved some black slaves from the Santo Domingo de Macaira estate in Caucagua to the ...


nurse, affectionately known as “Cherry,” was born Eumeda Powis in the largely rural parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, on 16 January 1939. Her father, Ferdinal Powis, was a farmer. Her mother’s name and occupation are unknown. She attended the Collington and Crooked River Schools in the parish, and later, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she went on to receive a tertiary education in Great Britain, attending Trafford College and Manchester Polytechnic. Her studies at the tertiary level established her in the field of healthcare, in which she had a distinguished career. She married Arthur S. Byfield and gave birth to two children while residing in Britain for over thirty years. It was here that Byfield did extensive work in nursing. Nursing was not her only passion, however. She was committed to community development in both Britain and her home county of Jamaica.

Byfield took refuge in her work ...


Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian politician, women's rights activist, playwright, and nurse, was born in May 1924 in Banjul, Gambia, to Sir John Mahoney, the first Speaker of the Gambian Legislature, and Lady Hannah Mahoney, a typist. She attended St Joseph's Convent and the Methodist Girls’ High School in Banjul, where she sat her Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination in 1942.

From 1942 to 1946 she worked as a nurse assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Banjul, before traveling to England in 1946 to study medicine at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol, where she obtained her State Registered Nurse (SRN) certificate in 1953. On returning to Gambia, she was posted as a nursing sister to Basse, 400 kilometers from Bathurst, where she met and married Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Their marriage at Basse in February 1955 was described in the Bathurst press as a unique occasion which ...


Frances B. Henderson

political leader and former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, was born Graça Simbine in Gaza Province in rural Mozambique, the youngest of six children. She was born two weeks after the death of her father, and she and her siblings were raised by her mother. Machel attended a Methodist mission school starting at the age of 6, and upon completion of primary and secondary school in the early 1970s, she received a mission scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. In Lisbon she met other African students from the Portuguese colonies and began to develop her liberation politics. In 1973, upon her return to Mozambique, she joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) in its struggle for independence from Portuguese rule. Later in 1973 Machel fled to Tanzania to join FRELIMO in exile where she met her future husband ...


Eric Young

Samora Machel was one of Africa’s most famous revolutionary figures, known for his charisma and disciplined character. As a revolutionary leader and as president of Mozambique, Machel created a cult of personality wrapped in Marxist ideology and populism. Like many of the Mozambican nationalist leaders, Machel, who was born in Chilembene, was a southerner who attended Catholic schools in his youth. He trained as a nurse and worked in Maputo’s central hospital before joining the nationalist group Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), led by Eduardo Mondlane, in 1962. After receiving military training in Algeria the following year, Machel returned to lead many military operations during the war for independence. As the war progressed, Machel became commander of Nachingwea, FRELIMO’s military training camp in Tanzania, and became FRELIMO’s secretary of defense in 1966 and commander in chief in 1968 Shortly after the assassination of Eduardo ...


Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín

was born to a large rural East Indian family in Guadeloupe. She moved to France and was a founding member of Choisir la Cause des Femmes (also known as CHOISIR), an organization that supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion. She wrote two novels—Mon examen de blanc (1972) and La graine: Journal d’une sage femme (1974) —in which the themes of racism and sexism, women’s sexuality, reproductive rights, and sterilization are directly brought to the foreground.

In Mon examen de blanc which roughly translates as My Whiteness Test Manicom s protagonist Dr Madévie Ramimoutou an anesthesiologist examines and criticizes medical practices in Guadeloupe and how women s bodies through gynecological abuses become sites where the political and ideological battles of the French colonial and post departmentalization system occur The first person narrator and protagonist observes the abuses but given the racial and gender ...


Aleric J. Josephs

was born Mary Jane Grant in Kingston, Jamaica, to a mulatto Jamaican lodging housekeeper and a Scottish soldier in 1805 She lived the greater part of her life in Kingston and was shaped by the slave society in which she came of age Slavery was not abolished until she was in her thirties so she was aware of what the system entailed Her family however would have been among the privileged brown Jamaicans who were allowed to escape the civil and legal disabilities experienced by the majority of black people in the British Caribbean She was one of three children who were born free and she had the added privilege of a patron possibly a white godmother who facilitated her early privileged upbringing including travels to England when she was in her late teens There is no evidence as to the type of schooling she received but she seems ...


Jane Robinson

Jamaicannurse, hotelier, entrepreneur, writer, and heroine of the Crimean War. She was born Mary Grant, but no official records of her birth or parentage exist; in her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), she stated her father to be a soldier of Scottish descent (possibly James Grant of the 60th Regiment of Foot) and her Creole mother to be the keeper of a Kingston hotel, Blundell Hall, and a well‐respected ‘doctress’, skilled in the traditional African use of herbal remedies. Her mother's guests and patients included British army officers garrisoned in Kingston, and Grant enjoyed a close relationship with the Army all her life. She had one sister, Louisa Grant (c.1815–1905), and a half‐brother, Edward Ambleton, who died during the 1850s.

Grant was educated by an elderly woman described in the autobiography as my kind ...


Anne Sarah Macpherson

was born to Francis and Margaret Myvett in colonial British Honduras. She attended Anglican elementary school in Belize Town and then entered the pupil–teacher system as a teenager. She taught in British Honduras and just across the border in Xcalak, Mexico, marrying Elizah Fitzgerald Seay in 1905. Her life from ages 24 to 37 is only partially documented, although she seems to have continued teaching after her marriage. She did not have children and, if living in Belize Town, did not qualify for the income- and property-restricted female municipal franchise granted in 1912.

In 1918 she signed a major petition, organized in Belize Town, which demanded reform of the Crown colony and unofficial majority systems in order to avoid popular rebellion. She likely joined other middle-class female volunteers during the global influenza epidemic crisis of late 1918–1919 and certainly entered the arenas of public health nursing and ...


was born in Barbados on 20 August 1897 to Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Walcott, the owners and operators of a grocery store. Her childhood years were spent in the district of My Lord’s Hill in the parish of St. Michael. Educated at Belmont Girls’ Elementary and Lynch’s Secondary School, Nellie (as she was known to most Barbadians) received her nursing education at the Barbados General Hospital and trained as a midwife at St. Michael’s Infirmary.

Muriel Walcott married Charles N. Weekes, a veteran of World War I, and they adopted several children. Her interest in business was expressed in her partnership with her husband in the management of a restaurant and hotels on the island. Charles passed away in 1965 Nellie s philosophy of life was guided by her deep concern for the welfare of humankind especially children the socially disadvantaged and women This philosophy allowed her to gain ...


Kim Miller

Cameroonian nurse, politician, and writer of fiction, was born in Lomie, Cameroon, in 1935. She attended the Douala secondary school for girls until 1955. Tsogo then moved to Toulouse, France, where she earned a nursing diploma. In 1960 she returned to Cameroon where she worked as a nurse in several different hospitals. She has three daughters.

Her medical work coincided with a notable political career, and Tsogo was one of the first African women to reach some of the top positions in politics. She rose to power in large part because of her work in women’s associations and her unwavering commitment to working on women’s issues. In 1964, Tsogo was elected as the national president of the Council of Cameroonian Women, a position she held until 1985. She became a member of Parliament in 1965 and held that position until 1972 She was the first ...