Statue for Mary Prince

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Proposal

Following the recent removal of statues which depict pro-slavery historical figures such as the slaveholder Robert Milligan in the UK; this petition proposes to replace the statue outside the Museum of London Docklands with a statue of the female abolitionist Mary Prince; who was the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament and the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography, 'The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave '.

As to date there is no statue recognising the legacy of Mary Prince's work in campaigning for the end of slavery in the UK and first hand account of the cruelty of slavery.

Brief History of Mary Prince

As a child, she was sold from one brutal slavemaster to another around the Caribbean islands, eventually ending up in Antigua in 1815 in the service of John Adams Wood, where she worked as a nursemaid and joined the Moravian Church, learning to read.

She married Daniel James in December 1826 – a former slave set free, then working as a carpenter and cooper – but was horsewhipped for doing so by her master. The couple were separated when the Woods relocated to London, taking her with them.

In Britain, the passing of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, abolishing the slave trade in the UK, coincided with Mary’s freedom (1829), when she escaped their cruelty.

But she had no means to support herself independently and lived at the Moravian Mission House in Hatton Gardens until finally finding work through the patronage of abolitionist Thomas Pringle, secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society.

As enslavement was still legal in the colonies - parliament fearing the impact of abolition on the lucrative sugar industry - Mary found her place by campaigning for its complete end with the society, following encouragement from Pringle.

She became the first black woman to present a petition to the British government in 1829, arguing for the basic human rights of slaves. Her autobiography appeared two years later, transcribed by Susanna Strickland, causing a sensation with its frank depiction of the horrors of slavery and plantation life and through its direct manner of address.

She passed away in 1833, the year that Slavery Abolition Act was passed, which officially freed 800,000 slaves in the colonies, an event that could never have been brought to pass without her courage and that of her fellow abolitionists.