Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


VIRTUAL: 19th Century Superheroine: Sarah Parker Remond

05 June 2021, 6:30 pm–8:15 pm

Photo of Sarah Parker Remond

Harriet Tubman and Mary Seacole are icons but SPR's amazing story is little known. Traveller, abolitionist, lecturer, nurse, doctor and more

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Sarah Parker Remond Centre / Black History Walks

This is an online event. Zoom link will be sent 30 minutes before the start.

This event is organised by Black History Walks in collaboration with UCL's Sarah Parker Remond Centre

Sarah Parker Remond (1826-1894) was an African American activist who became well known on her international abolitionist tours for her fiery speeches.

In 1853 she took successful legal action against a local theatre campaigning for desegregation long before the US Civil War or the Civil Rights movement. In 1858 she undertook the challenging journey, as a single black woman, to the United Kingdom and gave numerous anti -racist lectures to packed houses across England, Scotland and Ireland.

She studied at what is now University College London and Royal Holloway University. She lived around the corner from where Mary Seacole, a contemporary, wrote her first book. Sarah was also involved in British women's campaign to vote.

Sarah Parker Remond later moved to Florence, Italy, where she became a doctor at one of Europe's most prestigious medical schools and qualified as an obstetrician.

Her language skills enabled 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 also befriended the famous Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini.

Sarah Parker Remond's popularity, philanthropy, prominence and professional achievements are little known today. This lecture by Professor Sirpa Salenius, author of An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), will lay out the context and extent of her success. Plus Q&A.

Sirpa Salenius
About the Speaker:

Professor Sirpa Salenius lectures at the School of Humanities, Foreign Languages and Translation Studies at the University of Eastern Finland. Her interests in English language and culture centre on American literature and culture as well as transatlantic studies. Her research focuses on issues related to race, gender, and sexuality, from the nineteenth century to the present . She has lived and worked in France, Japan, Italy, the USA and Finland. She is the author of An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)


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