The History of Mary Price

Bermuda to rename holiday after enslaved woman

North America

From next year, Mary Prince Day will be 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.

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.

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. 

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”.