ANTI-SLAVERY HEROINE Mary Prince celebrated as Google Doodle

Forcibly brought over from Antigua by her masters, Mary Prince joined the Anti-Slavery Society and helped fuel the fires of abolition

Google Doodles are special logos featured on the search engine’s homepage that commemorate holidays, events and people – today’s is British slave abolitionist Mary Prince.

Today’s Google Doodle features a painting of Mary reading a book on a seafront

Who was Mary Prince?

Mary Prince was born into slavery in Bermuda around 1788. She was sold away from her family when she was ten years old. Mary suffered extreme cruelty and sexual abuse at the hands of wicked slave masters on several West Indian islands.

Was Mary Prince married?

The author and activist is commemorated with a plaque on the front of a house in Camden, London

Whilst she was in Antigua Mary met a widower, Daniel Jones, a former black slave who managed to purchase his freedom and now worked as a carpenter.

Jones asked Mary to marry him and she agreed. When Mary’s owner John Wood found out she was married, he was so enraged he dealt her a severe beating with a horsewhip.

How did Mary Prince come to England?

In 1828, at the age of 40, Mary was shipped over from Antigua to England by Mr and Mrs Wood. Slavery was still legal in the West Indies, but no longer in Britain itself.

Once in London, Mary left her Woods owners and joined the Anti-Slavery Society founded by William Wilberforce. But the Woods refused to formally emancipate her meaning if she returned to Antigua she would be re-enslaved there.

Mary joined the Anti-Slavery Society, founded and headed by William WilberforceWhy did Mary Prince write an autobiography?

One year after she landed on British soil, Mary unsuccessfully petitioned parliament for her freedom so she could return to her husband in Antigua – and not be instantly enslaved upon arrival. She told abolitionist sympathisers such as Thomas Pringle her life story. It was then published in 1831 as The History of Mary Prince.

Two libel cases arose out of it, and Prince was called to testify at each in 1933. It attracted a huge readership when the anti-slavery movement was mounting a powerful and successful campaign to free slaves.

How did Mary Prince die?

Unfortunately there is not much known about the rest of Mary’s life. She was last hear of in the UK when she testified in the two libel cases.

Her place of death remains a mystery and no one knows if she was able to return to her husband in Antigua as a free woman.

On 26 October 2007, a commemorative plaque organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust was unveiled in Bloomsbury, where Mary Prince once lived.

What is a Google Doodle?

In 1998, the search engine founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second ‘o’ of Google as a message to that they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.

The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.

In that same year, a turkey was added to Thanksgiving and two pumpkins appeared as the ‘o’s for Halloween the following year.

Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.


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