Mary Prince: Slavery Never Equals Freedom

The History of Mary Prince - Mary Prince, Sara Salih

Mary Prince was born a slave in Bermuda. She publishes the first narrative in Britain of the life of a black woman.


Mary cannot understand why the color of her skin strips her from living a respectable life. She refuses to accept being treated like an animal because of that. Mary describes the physical and emotional torments she suffered from by the hands of different masters. She declares that they do not consider her like a human being. They use her like sheep bought, exploited, and sold; abused and thrown like a thorn sock.



The message she desired to spread is that she is a human being regardless of the color of her skin. She deserves respect, rights, and freedom as much as others. For her, freedom is being able to enjoy basic needs; she wants to earn her livings and be free to marry and have children and have a place of her own to live in. For her, freedom is not to live in fear of the next whip which will hit her. For her, freedom is to be able to have clean clothes and enough food. For her, freedom is to be able to learn how to write, how to pray, and how to educate herself. Basically for her, freedom is to live comfortably like anybody else.




Mary asks  interesting questions: why do Westerners think that black people do not need freedom? Why do they think that black people are happy with being slaves? She wonders if they really believe in the own lies or if they just do not care. She wants to understand why they don’t think that black people hurt when their backs are opened by the whip, why their screams do not reach beaters’ hearts?