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“To be free is very sweet”, January’s Island Studies Lecture

Dr. Margôt Maddison-MacFadyen examines the story of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave
Friday, January 4, 2019
Dr. Margôt Maddison-MacFadyen

The Island Studies Lecture Series January lecture returns with Dr. Margôt Maddison-MacFadyen, speaking on the topic, “To be free is very sweet”: The story of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave. The lecture is Tuesday, January 15, at 7:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building.

Join Dr. Maddison-MacFadyen on a historical-geographical journey through Mary Prince’s life, where she details primary source evidence that not only confirms Prince’s testimony, but broadens her story of slavery and freedom.

The story of Bermudian slave Mary Prince is fascinating. In 1828 she freed herself when she walked out her owners’ door in London, England, and never came back. She is the first known black woman to escape colonial enslavement, tell her story of survival, and have it compiled and written down. The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself, first published in 1831, was part of a successful abolitionist strategy that pressured British Parliament to legislate into law freedom for enslaved British subjects throughout the British Empire. This was achieved through the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act that commenced on August 1, 1834. Born in Bermuda in 1787 or 1788, Prince also lived on three other islands: Grand Turk Island and Antigua in the West Indies, and Great Britain. Recent research suggests Prince returned to Antigua in 1833, but her death date is not known. She became a Bermudian National Hero in 2012.

Dr. Margôt Maddison-MacFadyen lives at Rennies Road, PEI. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Interdisciplinary PhD Program in 2017. Her non-traditional dissertation is titled “Reclaiming Histories of Enslavement from the Maritime Atlantic and a Curriculum: The History of Mary Prince.” She is the recipient of a 2018 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Maddison-MacFadyen is currently investigating the latter years of Mary Prince’s life for the Government of Bermuda.

Admission to the lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

The next lecture is scheduled for February 19. Mark your calendars! For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

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