Reclaiming histories of enslavement from the maritime Atlantic and a curriculum: the history of Mary Prince

Maddison-MacFadyen, Margôt (2017) Reclaiming histories of enslavement from the maritime Atlantic and a curriculum: the history of Mary Prince. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This dissertation explores The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831) from an historical perspective. I place Prince in the story of British Abolition, and examine Prince’s and her family’s relationships with their Bermudian slave-­‐owners, and Prince’s relationships with Moravian missionaries in Antigua. Oral traditions regarding Prince from Grand Turk Island and Antigua directed my archival explorations, which resulted in findings that confirm and broaden aspects of Prince’s story. I also located two still-­‐standing residences associated with Prince in Bermuda. As well, I analyze the collaborative writing team that produced Prince’s slave narrative from the perspective of Abolition. Mary Prince was the storyteller, Susanna Strickland (later Moodie) was the compiler, and Thomas Pringle was the editor and financial backer of the project. Additionally, I consider Ashton Warner’s Negro Slavery Described (1831), which was a product of the same team, but with Warner as storyteller. I suggest that the two slave narratives were a duology to be read in tandem. I draw out a central image from both slave narratives—the enslaved, bound, and flogged black woman—and propose that abolitionists used this image to bring about social change by witnessing. My thesis includes a curriculum based on The History of Mary Prince, which works with Bermuda’s Social Studies curriculum, and I have created a website,, to supplement this curriculum. The website also stands alone as an educational resource for students and teachers worldwide. The fundamental goal of the curriculum is to open students’ historical consciousness to the Middle Passage and to colonial enslavement so that they may understand a root cause of racism in the Americas. To aid with this, I have theorized an educational approach to open historical consciousness that is procedural in nature, and includes autobiographical survivor accounts, primary sources, visiting significant sites, secondary sources, and fictionalized accounts. I use the metaphor of “nesting dolls” to explain this approach. I also argue that creolization is a path of hope and that a history-­‐infused food garden is a place where we may learn about our creolized identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 12689
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: slaves, slave narrative, Abolition, black women, curriculum, pedagogy, historical consciousness, race relations, History, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua, Britain, creolization, food garden
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: January 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Slavery--Atlantic Ocean Region--Personal narratives--History and criticism; Prince, Mary--The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself.

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