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Britain's Black Past$
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Gretchen H. Gerzina

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621600

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621600.001.0001

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The Gravity of Mary Prince’s History

The Gravity of Mary Prince’s History

(p.235) Chapter Thirteen The Gravity of Mary Prince’s History
Britain's Black Past

Sue Thomas

Liverpool University Press

Sue Thomas uses this chapter to explore recent academic and creative projects about Mary Prince that reframe and add complexity to her story. Prince, enslaved in Bermuda, Grand Turk Island, Antigua and London, is best remembered for her influential slave narrative, The History of Mary Prince, published in 1831 by Thomas Pringle, secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society. The text was a graphic exposé of the atrocities of slavery and brought about a libel case against Pringle by one of Prince’s former owners. Thomas looks at work about Prince including Margot Maddison-MacFadyen’s archival research used both in her PhD dissertation and her historical fiction novella for young readers; themes of other-mothering explored in the poetry of Joan Anim-Addo; a video installation by Joscelyn Gardner using a toy theatre set that reflects on performative aspects of history through Prince’s story; and work by Cynthia M. Kennedy and Michele Speitz which brings attention to the harsh conditions of slaves working in Caribbean salt ponds as described by Prince. Finally, Thomas explores Prince’s conversion to Moravianism and how her experience of slavery chafed against the religious philosophy of quietism.

Keywords:   Mary Prince, Thomas Pringle, slave narrative, Moravian Church

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