Sarah Parker Remond is an African American traveller, freedom fighter, intellectual and doctor who finally received her “flowers” through the honour of a Nubian Jak Community Trust plaque nearly 130 years after her death.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Sarah Parker Remond, but thanks to the efforts of the Nubian Jak Community Trust team, more people will know about her and what she achieved in her lifetime.
The Nubian Jak team has made huge strides in their ambition to increase awareness of Black people’s contributions to British society. They are responsible for growing the 1.6% of blue plaques, celebrating African and Caribbean contributions in Britain, to 6%. The recognition of Sarah Parker Remond is just the latest in a long list of personalities honoured with Blue and Black Plaques.
Founder of Nubian Jak Community Trust, Dr Jak Beulah, said: “At a time when every conceivable barrier was placed before Sarah Parker Remond, she overcame racism, sexism and poverty, to become an abolitionist, suffragette, academic, and medical doctor. Nubian Jak is proud to be honouring this indomitable spirit with a blue plaque during International Women’s Month.”
So, who is Dr Sarah Parker Remond?
Sarah Parker Remond (June 6, 1826 – December 13, 1894) was an African American lecturer, abolitionist, women’s rights campaigner and medic. Born a free woman in the state of Massachusetts, Redmond went on to tour across the British Isles and Europe, delivering public addresses denouncing inequality and oppression with passion and conviction.
Read on to learn 10 facts about this remarkable woman.
She was an outspoken critic of slavery
Remond is said to have made her first public speech against the institution of slavery when she was just 16 years old.
She was an activist
In 1853, Parker Remond sued a local theatre in her native Massachusetts for segregationist practices… and won!
She was a fierce anti-slavery campaigner
As an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, she travelled to the United Kingdom in 1858, where she gave numerous anti-racist lectures to packed houses across England, Scotland and Ireland.
She studied and lectured in the UK
Living around the corner from where the famous Mary Seacole wrote her first book, Sarah studied and lectured at University College London and Bedford College, which merged with Royal Holloway to become Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.
She was a Suffragette
Sarah was involved in the British Suffragist Movement among her many activities.
She was a qualified doctor and obstetrician
Sarah is known to have relocated to Florence, Italy, where she qualifed as a doctor and obstetrician at one of Europe’s most prestigious medical schools.
She had famous friends
Her fluency in Italian allowed her to join elite groups in Florence and Rome, where she hosted fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass and lived next to the famed Black female sculptor Edmonia Lewis. She was also friends with the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini.
She was a philanthropist
Sarah Parker Remond was popularly known for her philanthropy, prominence, and professional achievements in her time.
This educational establishment was named in her honour
The Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the study of Race and Racialisation at UCL is named in her honour. The centre recently revealed their commissioned portrait of Sarah Parker Remond from multidisciplinary visual artist-researcher Sasha Huber as part of her “The Firsts” portrait series. The series interrogates how “even today someone can still be ‘the first Black person’ to achieve specific goals across many fields of practice and in different countries”.
She received a Blue Plaque
On Friday 25 March 2022 she was honoured with a Blue Plaque located near Russell Square in recognition of her incredible achievements.