Sarah Parker Remond

Sarah Parker Remond was a free-born African-American radical, suffragist, anti-slavery activist and later, a physician.

Who is Sarah Parker Remond and what is her connection to UCL?

Sarah Parker Remond was born in 1824 in Salem, Massachusetts (one of the first states in the USA to abolish slavery). Her family owned a successful catering and hairdressing business and were themselves passionate abolitionists. As a young black woman, Sarah brought a legal case against a theatre after being forced out when she refused to sit in segregated seats. She won the case and the theatre was ordered to stop segregated seating. Sarah moved to England in 1859 and, after initially studying languages and liberal arts at Bedford College, in 1865 she changed direction and enrolled on a nursing degree at University College London. She eventually moved to Florence, Italy, where she was one of the first African-American women to earn a medical degree, qualifying as an obstetrician in 1868. She died in 1894 in Florence, at the age of 79.

What is inspiring about Sarah Parker Remond?

Sarah Parker Remond was a trailblazing figure in the fight for civil rights and women's suffrage during the 19th century. A notable anti-segregation and anti-slavery campaigner – both at home in the USA and in her adopted country of England – she also campaigned for women’s rights as a suffragist and is believed to have been the only black woman to sign the petition for women’s voting rights presented to the UK parliament in 1866. 

What is her legacy?

As a speaker for the American Anti-Slavery Society, Sarah Parker Remond was the first woman to lecture publicly against slavery in England and played a key role in the abolitionist campaign. The legacy of her fascinating life and work is celebrated by the UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation, founded in 2019.