‘I have been a slave – I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows …’
Mary Prince recalls that in the slave market in Bermuda, where she was put up for sale, the buyers’ talk ‘fell like cayenne pepper into the fresh wounds of our hearts’. During her life as a slave she was taken from Bermuda to Turks Island and Antigua, eventually arriving in London where, in 1828, she reported the cruelty of her master and mistress to the Anti-Slavery Society.
The History of Mary Prince (1831) was the first life of a black woman to be published in Britain. This extraordinary testament of ill-treatment and survival was a protest and a rallying-cry for emancipation that provoked two libel actions and ran into three editions in the year of its publication.
This edition includes an introduction which discusses The History within the context of black writing, explanatory notes, a chronology, and supplementary material on enslavement and the case of Mary Prince.