Mary Prince Day around the world in 2021

Mary Prince Day around the world in 2021

  How long until Mary Prince Day?
Mary Prince Day
  Dates of Mary Prince Day around the world
2022 BermudaJul 29
Bermuda Fri, Jul 29National Holiday
2021 BermudaJul 30
Bermuda Fri, Jul 30National Holiday
2020 BermudaJul 31
Bermuda Fri, Jul 31National Holiday
  Summary

The Friday before the first Monday in August honours a once enslaved Bermudian who became a hero of the abolitionist movement in Britain.

Related holidays

When is Mary Prince Day?

From 2020, Mary Prince Day is a public holiday in Bermuda observed on the Friday before the first Monday in August. This holiday takes place on the day after Emancipation Day and coincides with the second day of Cup Match, an annual cricket match between Somerset and St. George's.

History of Mary Prince Day

Mary Prince was a Bermudian slave who published her autobiography, “The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave“. Published in 1831, the book was a first-hand account of the brutality of slavery in Bermuda and the first account of the life of a black woman to be published in England.

Her book remains the only first-hand account in existence of the daily life of a Bermudian slave. The book didn’t make its way to Bermuda over 150 years later when an American scholar doing research on Mary Prince presented a copy of the book to the Bermuda Archives.

On being a slave

Oh the horrors of slavery! – How the thought of it pains my heart! But the truth ought to be told of it; and what my eyes have seen I think it is my duty to relate; for few people in England know what slavery is.

I have been a slave – I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows; and I would have all the good people in England to know it too, that they may break our now it too, that they may break our chains, and set us free.

The second day of the Cup Match holiday was previously named after Admiral Sir George Somers, who ran aground in Bermuda on July 28th 1609, which led to the founding of the English colony of Bermuda.

It was a one-off official holiday in 1931 and incorporated into the two-day Cup Match public holiday in 1947.

Since 2018, there had been a push to rename Somers Day to Mary Prince Day, so that Emancipation Day is followed by a holiday that recognises a Bermudian who made an important contribution to the abolition movement.

On announcing the change, Lovitta Foggo, the community minister told the House of Assembly that Ms Prince was "recognised on the world stage for the crucial role she played in the abolishment of slavery throughout the British Empire".

The move was backed by Progressive Labour Party backbenchers Christopher Famous and Rolfe Commissiong, who had called for the change.

Mr Famous, who started to petition for the name change in August 2018, said "It is time for historical truths to be told. Mary Prince led the fight for the freedom of enslaved Africans throughout the Caribbean.

"It is only fitting that we recognise her during our Emancipation celebrations."

Mr Commissiong added that Ms Prince was "a witness to history and a major figure in the liberation movement".

He said her book "refuted the perverse notion, perpetuated by white historians, that slavery in Bermuda was benign”.

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