Autobiography/Memoir

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The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave by Mary Prince

Mary Prince

1831

Mary Prince (c. 1 October 1788 – after 1833) was a British abolitionist and autobiographer, born in Bermuda to an slave family of African descent. Subsequent to her escape, when she was living in London, England, she and Thomas Pringle wrote her slave narrative The History of Mary Prince (1831), which was the first account of the life of a black slave woman to be published in the United Kingdom. This first-hand description of the brutalities of enslavement, released at a time when slavery was still legal in Bermuda and British Caribbean colonies, had a galvanising effect on the British anti-slavery movement. It was reprinted twice in its first year.

Prince was illiterate and had her account transcribed while living and working in England at the home of Pringle, secretary of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions (aka Anti-Slavery Society, 1823–1838). She had gone to London with her master and his family in 1828 from Antigua.