The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (Annotated): A Review and Summary


The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, is a powerful and poignant autobiography that sheds light on the brutal realities of slavery in the Caribbean during the 18th and 19th centuries. Mary Prince, an enslaved woman, narrates her life story, providing readers with a firsthand account of the inhumane treatment endured by millions of enslaved Africans.


Mary Prince was born into slavery in Bermuda in the late 18th century. She recounts her experiences of being sold multiple times and the subsequent separation from her family. Her narrative takes readers on a journey through her various owners, each one more cruel and oppressive than the last.

Prince’s narrative highlights the physical and psychological abuse endured by enslaved individuals. She describes the long hours of backbreaking labor, the constant hunger, and the harsh punishments inflicted upon those who dared to resist. Her story exposes the dehumanizing nature of slavery, as she is treated as property rather than a human being.

Despite the immense hardships she faces, Prince demonstrates her resilience and determination to fight for her freedom. She recounts her escape from her final owner, seeking refuge in England, where she becomes an active participant in the abolitionist movement. Prince’s narrative serves as a powerful testament to the strength and resilience of enslaved individuals, as well as their unwavering desire for freedom.


The History of Mary Prince is an essential read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the horrors of slavery. Prince’s narrative provides a unique perspective on the institution of slavery, as she shares her personal experiences and the impact it had on her life.

Prince’s writing is both raw and compelling, capturing the reader’s attention from the very beginning. Her vivid descriptions of the harsh realities of slavery evoke a range of emotions, from anger and sadness to admiration for her strength and resilience.

One of the strengths of Prince’s narrative is her ability to humanize herself and her fellow enslaved individuals. She challenges the prevailing stereotypes of enslaved Africans as passive and submissive, instead showcasing their agency and resistance in the face of unimaginable cruelty.

The annotated edition of The History of Mary Prince provides valuable context and analysis, enhancing the reader’s understanding of the historical and social significance of Prince’s narrative. The annotations offer insights into the cultural, political, and economic factors that shaped the institution of slavery in the West Indies, as well as the broader abolitionist movement.

This annotated edition also includes critical essays and scholarly commentary, which further enrich the reader’s understanding of Prince’s narrative. These additional resources delve into the themes of race, gender, and power dynamics within the context of slavery, providing a comprehensive analysis of the text.


The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, is a powerful testament to the resilience and strength of enslaved individuals. Mary Prince’s narrative sheds light on the brutal realities of slavery and challenges the prevailing narratives of the time. This annotated edition provides readers with a deeper understanding of the historical and social context of Prince’s narrative, making it an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and anyone interested in the history of slavery.

By reading and engaging with The History of Mary Prince, we honor the memory of those who suffered under the institution of slavery and ensure that their stories are not forgotten.

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