Mary Prince was born into enslavement on the British owned Island of Bermuda 1788? As with many enslaved people exact records of births and deaths can be difficult to come by and Mary's birth year is an estimation. She was the daughter of a House slave Sue and a Sawyer nothing unusual there but through Mary's narrative we are given rare insights into her life as an enslaved person. We learn of moments of love, conflict and some of the intricacies of chattel slavery that are seldom heard.
When Mary's narrative was 1st published it was the harsh realities the brutality of enslavement the treatment and dehumanisation of people that shocked readers. Also it was the fact of a woman speaking of flogging, of work that wasn't just back breaking but life taking. She gives us her words and thoughts of how it felt to be enslaved, owned bought and sold. Mary's story gives us the voice of the 'chattel' those voices that are often silent, silenced, ignored of spoken for. Many who read her book could now picture enslaved people more fully as people with feelings, hopes and dreams. It also again highlighted Britain's role in enslavement, often today many of us think of slavery as an American experience, hearing stories of the deep south, and forget that Britain played a major role. Mary's words help to remind us.
Age guidance: 11+ (there are descriptions of beatings and punishments and a visual image of a noose on set)
Running time: 1 hour + 20 minute Q&A