The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave

Related by Herself

By Mary Prince

The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave

66 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3328-2
    Published: May 2017
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-3329-9
    Published: May 2017
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5440-7
    Published: May 2017

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A DocSouth Book, Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library

Mary Prince’s narrative was one of the earliest to reveal the ugly truths about slavery in the West Indies to an English reading public that was largely unaware of its atrocities. Prince was born in Bermuda to an enslaved family. She spent her early life in harsh conditions and was eventually sold to John Adams Wood of Antigua, working as his domestic servant. She joined the Moravian Church, where she learned to read, and married Daniel James, a former slave who had bought his freedom. In 1828 she traveled to England with the Woods family and after protracted efforts by abolitionists was able to leave their control. Encouraged by her new employer, Thomas Pringle, who also served as her editor, Prince wrote and published her book in 1831 to wide acclaim.

While eighteenth-century slave narratives largely focused on Christian spiritual journeys and religious redemption, Prince was part of a growing trend of abolitionist writers focused on the injustice of slavery. Her work stands alongside better-known narratives such as A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Adding to its importance, few early women’s slave narratives exist.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings classic works from the digital library of Documenting the American South back into print. DocSouth Books uses the latest digital technologies to make these works available in paperback and e-book formats. Each book contains a short summary and is otherwise unaltered from the original publication. DocSouth Books provide affordable and easily accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.

About the Author

Mary Prince (c. 1788–after 1833) was born in Devonshire Parish, Bermuda. She was last documented living in London in 1833, after which nothing else is known.
For more information about Mary Prince, visit the Author Page.