Mary Prince was the first black British woman to escape from slavery and publish a record of her experiences. In this unique document, Mary Prince vividly recalls her life as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island, and Antigua, her rebellion against physical and psychological degradation, and her eventual escape to London in 1828.
First published in London and Edinburgh in 1831, and well into its third edition that year, The History of Mary Prince inflamed public opinion and created political havoc. Never before had the sufferings and indignities of enslavement been seen through the eyes of a woman---a woman struggling for freedom in the face of great odds.
Moira Ferguson's edition of the book added an introduction, annotations, and appendices. The book has found popularity both in the classroom and with the general public. Recently, an adaptation of the memoirs of Mary Prince appeared as one segment of "A Skirt Through History," a six-part feature film series produced by the BBC. Mary Prince's story has also been the centerpiece of BBC radio broadcasts.
In this revised and expanded edition of The History of Mary Prince, Ferguson has added new material, based on her extensive research in Bermuda and London. The book includes new details of Mary Prince's experiences as a freewoman in England, the transcripts of several libel cases brought against her, and the reactions of British society, as seen in prominent periodicals of the day, against the original publication of The History of Mary Prince. This new material brings greater depth and detail and serves to more fully illustrate and contextualize the life of this remarkable woman.
Moira Ferguson is James E. Ryan Professor of English and Women's Literature, University of Nebraska.
"Moira Ferguson deserves to be highly commended for this latest edition of The History of Mary Prince, not least because of the book's timeless relevance and value as one of the first oral accounts of slavery by a black woman who escaped from slavery in the British colonies, but especially because the reworked and expanded introduction and full compendium of highly informative appendices do much to help us unravel and understand the complexity of the slavery experience. The History of Mary Prince encapsulates and dramatically relates the hardship and sorrow of a slave woman's experiences, but it also tells of the resilience of the indomitable human spirit which underpinned the determination of slaves not merely to survive, subvert and resist the degradation, humiliation, dehumanisation and objectification involved in being slaves but, more importantly, to triumph in the quest of freedom."
—Glenford Howe, University of West Indies, Journal of Caribbean History, Volume 30, Nos. 1 & 2, 1996
The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave
Related by Herself 57
Supplement to the History of Mary Prince
by the Original Editor, Thomas Pringle 95
1. Mary Prince's Petition 127
2. Postscript to the Second Edition 129
3. Appendix to the Third Edition 130
4. 'Narrative of Louis Asa-Asa' 132
5. Court Case Involving Mary Prince, Pringle v. Cadell 136
6. Court Case Involving Mary Prince, Wood v. Pringle 140
7. Historical Slave Resistance in Bermuda 150
8. The Tread-Wheel 151
9. Bermuda Royal Gazette 152
10. An Excerpt from the Royal Gazette, January 20, 1994 158
11. A Second Excerpt from the Royal Gazette, January 21, 1994 161
12. Proclamation in 1993 163
13. Vernon Jackson, Paradise Found---Almost 165