Born in Bermuda, around 1788
Born into slavery because her parents were both slaves with two
Was first sold along with her mother and siblings as house slaves
to Captain Darrell
At 12, Mary was sold by herself to Captain John Ingham, a cruel
In 1806, Prince was sold to a master on another island, in what is
now the Turks and Caicos islands.
There, Prince worked as a salt packager in the salt mines.
Prince returned to Bermuda in 1810 when her master moved
In 1815, Prince was sold again to the Woods family, and she
worked as a house slave for them.
While working for the Woods family in Antigua, another
Caribbean island, Prince began suffering from arthritis and was
unable to work.
When her master traveled, she began making money through odd
jobs like laundry and selling yams.
She joined a Protestant church, where she was able to learn how to
In 1826, she married Daniel James, a former slave who had
managed to buy his own freedom.
Prince was flogged and beaten for her marriage because the
Woods family did not want a freed black man living near them.
In 1828, Prince traveled to London with the Woods family.
There, she left the Woods and began working for Thomas Pringle, an
abolitionist writer and member of the British Anti-Slavery Society.
Though Prince had left the Woods family, they had not freed her and the
refused to do so.
As a result, Prince was exiled in London and could not return to Antigua.
She remained in England until at least 1833, though her whereabouts after that
Prince may have lived to see the Slavery Abolition Act passed in England in
August 1834, which ensured that slavery was abolished in the West Indies by 1840.
THE HISTORY OF MARY
In 1829, encouraged by Pringle, Prince arranged to have her life story
transcribed by Susanna Strickland.
Pringle edited The History of Mary Prince, and the book was published in
The book received a lot of attention because it was the first account
of slavery from a black woman.
At this time, anti-slavery sentiments were also becoming more popular
THE BOOK’S INFLUENCE
When the book was published, slavery was illegal in England but
not in the West Indies, where Prince had lived.
Many of the debates over slavery were about politics and
Prince’s book gave a different dimension to the debate over
slavery, by capturing the experiences of a woman’s life as a slave.