“Did one of the many bystanders, who were looking at us so carelessly, think of the pain that wrung the hearts of the negro woman and her young ones? No, no! They were not all bad, I dare say; but slavery hardens white people’s hearts towards the blacks; and many of them were not slow to make their remarks upon us aloud, without regard to our grief— though their light words fell like cayenne on the fresh wounds of our hearts. Oh those white people have small hearts who can only feel for themselves.”
Mary Prince was born into slavery in Devonshire Parish, Bermuda. While she was later living in London, her autobiography,The History of Mary Prince (1831), was the first account of the life of a black woman to be published in the United Kingdom (The first black woman published in the U.K. was Phyllis Wheatley from the U.S. She was also the first woman to present a petition to Parliament.
Mary Prince was born into slavery in 1788 in Brackish Pond, now known as Devonshire Marsh, Devonshire Parish, Bermuda. Her father (whose only given name was Prince) was a sawyer owned by David Trimmingham, and her mother a house-servant held by Charles Myners. She had three younger brothers and two sisters, Hannah and Dinah. When Myners died in 1788, Mary Prince, her mother and siblings were sold as household servants to Captain Darrell. He gave Mary and her mother to his daughter, with the slave girl becoming the companion servant of his young granddaughter, Betsey Williams.
At the age of 12, Mary was sold for £38 sterling (2009: £2,290) to Captain John Ingham, of Spanish Point. Her two sisters were sold the same day, each to different masters. Her new master and his wife were cruel, and often lost their temper with the slaves. Mary and other slaves were often severely flogged for minor offences. Ingham sold Mary in 1806 to a master on Grand Turk, who owned salt ponds. The Bermudians had used these seasonally for a century for the extraction of salt from the ocean. The production of salt for export was a pillar of the Bermudian economy, but could not easily be produced. Generally men were the salt rakers, forced to work in the salt pans, where they were exposed to the sun and heat, as well as the salt in the pans, which ate away at their uncovered legs. Women did packaging of salt. Mary Prince was returned to Bermuda in 1810, where her master had moved. She was assigned to his daughter, and then for a time hired out to work at Cedar Hill.
In 1815, Mary was sold a fourth time to John Adams Wood of Antigua for $300. She worked for his household as a domestic slave, attending the bed chambers, nursing a young child, and washing clothes. She began to suffer from rheumatism and was unable to work. When her master was travelling, Prince began to earn her own money, by taking in washing, selling coffee, yams and other provisions to ships, and similar ways.
In Antigua she joined the Moravian Church, where she also attended classes and learned to read. She had been baptised in the English church in 1817 and accepted for communion, but she had feared asking her master for permission to go. In December 1826, Prince married Daniel James, a former slave who had bought his freedom by saving money from his work. He worked as a carpenter and cooper. According to her, the master and mistress disapproved of the marriage, claiming they did not want a free black man living at their place. They used her action as one more excuse to beat her.
In 1828 Wood and his family travelled to London to visit and arrange to take their son to school, and to bring their daughters home to the islands. They took Mary Prince with them as a servant (at her request, they later said). Although slavery was not legally recognised in Britain by this date, and Prince was technically free to leave Wood’s household, she had no means to support herself alone in England. Also, unless Wood formally emancipated her, she could not return to her husband in Antigua without being re-enslaved there.
Although she had served the Woods for More than ten years, they had increasing conflict in England. Four times Wood told her to obey or leave. They gave her a letter that nominally gave her the right to leave but suggested that no one should hire her.
After leaving the household, Prince took shelter with the Moravian church in Hatton Garden. Within a few weeks, she started working occasionally for Thomas Pringle, an abolitionist writer, and Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, which offered assistance to blacks in need. Prince found work with the Forsyth household, but the couple moved away from England in 1829. The Woods also left England in 1829 and returned with their daughter to Antigua. Pringle tried to arrange to have Wood manumit Prince, so she would have legal freedom.
In 1829 Wood refused either to manumit Mary Prince or allow her to be purchased out of his control. His refusal to sell or free her meant that as long as slavery remained legal in Antigua, Prince could not return to her husband and friends without being re-enslaved and submitting to Wood’s power. After trying to arrange a compromise, the Anti-Slavery Committee proposed to petition Parliament to grant Prince’s manumission, but did not succeed. At the same time, a bill was introduced to free all slaves from the West Indies in England whose owners had freely brought them there; it did not pass but was an indication of growing anti-slavery sentiment.
In December 1829, Pringle hired Prince to work in his own household. Encouraged by Pringle, Prince arranged for her life narrative to be transcribed by Susanna Strickland. Pringle served as editor, and her book was published in 1831 as The History of Mary Prince. The book caused a stir as the first account published in Great Britain of a black woman’s life; at a time when anti-slavery agitation was growing, her first person account touched many people. In the first year, it sold out three printings.
Two libel cases arose out of it, and Prince was called to testify at each.
Prince’s life after her book was published is not much known. It is not clear whether she ever returned to Antigua and her husband as she had wished.
She is known to have remained in England until at least 1833, when she testified in the two libel cases. That year, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, to be effective August 1834. The law was intended to achieve a two-staged abolition of West Indian slavery by 1840, allowing the colonies time to transition their economies. Because of popular protests in the West Indies among the freedmen, the colonies legally completed abolition two years early in 1838. In Bermuda, which was not dependent on the institution of slavery, emancipation took place immediately on the law going into effect in 1834. If Prince was still alive and in good health, she may then have returned as a free woman to her homeland.
The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, F. Westley and A. H. Davis (eds). 1831. Online HTML edition, New York Public Library, p.5, pp.15-16, p.17.
Sara Wajid, “‘They bought me as a butcher would a calf or a lamb’”, The Guardian, 19 October 2007.
Pringle, “Supplement to The History of Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, 1831, pp. 24–25, p. 26, p.30, e-text, New York Public Library, accessed 5 April 2013.
The Times, 1 March 1833, p. 6: “Mr H. W. Ravenscroft, an attorney, stated that in 1829 he made an application to the plaintiff” (i.e. John Wood) “to manumit Mary Prince, which he refused. Money was offered, but the plaintiff refused on any terms; and said he would not move a finger for her.”
According to The Times, reporting the libel case Wood v. Pringle, Prince testified that in late February 1833, she was living in the Old Bailey. Pringle was supporting her at a charge of ten or twelve shillings per week, as she had been out of work since the previous June. The Times, 1 March 1833, p. 6.
(Image): Slave Woman Hoeing Sugar Plants on a Plantation in Louisiana, 1800s, North Wind Press
1. Ash Grove, Missouri – Ash Grove is a city in Greene County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,472 at the 2010 census and it is part of the Springfield, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area. Ash Grove laid out in 1853, the city was named from a grove of ash trees near the original town site. A post office called Ash Grove has been in operation since 1849, the Berry Cemetery, Nathan Boone House, and Gilmore Barn are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ash Grove is located at 37°18′56″N 93°35′2″W, according to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.22 square miles, all of it land. The city is located twenty miles northwest of Springfield, the states third largest city. As of the census of 2010, there were 1,472 people,584 households, the population density was 1,206.6 inhabitants per square mile. There were 661 housing units at a density of 541.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 97. 4% White,0. 1% African American,0. 6% Native American,0. 1% Asian,0. 2% from other races, hispanic or Latino of any race were 1. 8% of the population. 31. 5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15. 9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older, the average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age in the city was 41.5 years. 24. 3% of residents were under the age of 18,7. 2% were between the ages of 18 and 24,22. 6% were from 25 to 44,25. 7% were from 45 to 64, and 20. 2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46. 8% male and 53. 2% female, as of the census of 2000, there were 1,430 people,577 households, and 386 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,204.1 people per square mile, there were 626 housing units at an average density of 527.1 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 97. 69% White,0. 07% African American,1. 05% Native American,0. 07% Asian,0. 42% from other races, hispanic or Latino of any race were 0. 49% of the population. 28. 8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16. 1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older, the average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.08. In the city the population was out with 27. 7% under the age of 18,7. 9% from 18 to 24,26. 8% from 25 to 44,21. 6% from 45 to 64. The median age was 37 years, for every 100 females there were 94.3 males
2. Ocklawaha, Florida – Ocklawaha is an unincorporated community in Marion County, Florida, United States. The community is part of the Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area, a post office was established at Ocklawaha in 1884. The post office closed in 1992, the community took its name from the nearby Ocklawaha River. In 1935, Ocklawaha was the scene of a shootout between federal agents and Ma Barker and her gang, the agents fired nearly 3500 bullets into the house as the fight ended in the death of all gang members present. Each year, the Ocklawaha Chamber of Commerce puts on a reenactment of the event, Ocklawaha is located at 29°02′33″N 81°55′46″W. The Ocklawaha River runs northward to the west, following the boundary of the Ocala National Forest
3. United States – Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography, climate and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci
4. Arthur Barker – Arthur R. Barker was an American criminal, the son of Ma Barker and a member of the Barker-Karpis gang, founded by his brother Fred Barker and Alvin Karpis. Generally known as Doc, Barker was typically called on for violent action, while Fred and he was arrested and convicted of kidnapping in 1935. Sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1936, he was killed three years later while attempting to escape from the Rock, Barker is described by one writer as a dimwit and a drunk, who was little more than a brutal thug. However, fellow Alcatraz inmate Henri Young said of him that he was determined and ruthless, Barker was born in Aurora, Missouri the John Elias Barker and Arizona Ma Barker née Clark. Through the 1920s and 1930s, Barker, with his brothers Herman, Lloyd and Fred, committed numerous crimes such as theft, robbery and murder. On July 18,1918, Barker was arrested for stealing a car on the highway and was sent to prison time in Joplin. On February 19,1920, he escaped from Joplin prison, using the pseudonym Claude Dade, Barker was involved in robberies in Oklahoma. He was arrested and imprisoned at Oklahoma State Penitentiary under the name Bob Barker from January to June 1921, on August 25,1921, Barker and three other men robbed a woman at a hospital construction site in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The three men were surprised by the watchman, Thomas Sherill. When Thomas saw them he opened fire, Sherill was fatally shot when two of the men shot at him while fleeing the scene. On January 14,1922, Barker was convicted of Sherills murder, Barker appealed the conviction and always maintained his innocence of this crime. He was paroled ten years later, on September 10,1932, after his release, Barker joined up with his brother Fred and Karpis. By this time, Barker was described as a morose, heavy drinking man, on December 16,1932, Barker participated in the robbery of the Third Northwestern Bank in Minneapolis. Two policemen were killed in that robbery and a civilian was murdered by Barkers brother Fred during the getaway, on August 30,1933, the Barker–Karpis gang robbed a payroll at Stockyards National Bank of South St. Paul. Barker fatally shot policeman Leo Pavlak after he had already surrendered, Barker also helped the gang kidnap two wealthy St. Paul, Minnesota men, William Hamm in June 1933 and Edward Bremer in January 1934. Barker personally grabbed both Hamm and Bremer, intimidating them with his brutality, however, it was Barker who made a slip-up that led to the capture of the gang. He removed a glove while refilling the car from a gas can before returning the Bremer after the ransom was paid, the discarded can was recovered and Barkers fingerprint was identified. They briefly relocated to Cuba, then moved to Florida, where they rented a house near Lake Weir, Barker devised a plan for a new robbery, but other members of the gang rejected the idea, believing that they should keep a low profile
5. Fred Barker – Frederick George Barker was one of the founders of the Barker-Karpis gang, which committed numerous robberies, murders and kidnappings during the 1930s. He was the youngest son of Ma Barker, all of whose children were criminals and he was killed in a lengthy gunfight with the FBI in 1935. Fred was born to George Elias and Arizona Donnie Clark Ma Barker in Aurora, the family moved to Tulsa in 1912. His older brothers Herman, Lloyd and ArthurDoc were committing crimes throughout his childhood, the Barker brothers were members of a gang of local youths called the Central Park Gang. They met in the park to plan crimes and stash their stolen goods, there Fred met future members of the Barker Gang including Volney Davis. Fred was first arrested and imprisoned in 1927 for burglary, while in prison he met Alvin Karpis. According to Karpis, Fred was a dominant figure in jail who was able to obtain marijuana, Karpis also said he was a natural born killer who never hesitated. Unlike Karpis he was known for his personal charm, after their release, Fred and Karpis joined up to commit a string of burglaries in Kansas, often collaborating with other local criminals. Several notable gangsters joined the Barkers in various crimes, including Harvey Bailey, Harry Campbell, Frank Nash, Fred Goetz, Charles Fitzgerald and they were accompanied by Ma Barker and her boyfriend Arthur Dunlop. Things became difficult for them when they were confronted by sheriff C. Roy Kelly in December 1931, Karpis shot Kelly, and Fred joined in. The sheriff died, an act that forced them to flee the territory, the two had also probably killed an Arkansas police chief, Manley Jackson, a month earlier, but had avoided suspicion at the time. The gang relocated to St. Paul Minnesota, in 1932, Fred, his brother Arthur Barker, Lawrence DeVol and Alvin Karpis robbed Third Northwestern National Bank in Minneapolis. DeVol killed policemen Ira Leon Evans and Leo Gorski during the escape, Fred murdered civilian Oscar Erickson, who was in a passing car when he saw the gang. Fred shot him as the car drove past them, Fred and Karpis were also suspected of killing Ma Barkers lover Arthur Dunlop, whom they considered to be untrustworthy after someone tipped police to the gangs hideout. Dunlop was not well liked by the due to the fact that he drank heavily. According to other gang members Dunlop was also abusive to Ma, around this time Fred started a relationship with Paula Harmon, widow of bank robber Charles Harmon. Karpis did not approve of Paula, considering her to be a drunk, the gang became nationally notorious in 1933-4 when they organized the kidnappings of local businessmen William Hamm and Edward Bremer. The crimes were orchestrated by racketeers Jack Peifer and Harry Sawyer with inside-information about police activity being provided by police officer Tom Brown
6. Public enemy – The phrase originated in Roman times as the Latin hostis publicus, typically translated into English as the public enemy. I put Al Capone at the head and his brother next, I called them Public Enemies, and so designated them in my letter, sent to the Chief of Police, the Sheriff every law enforcing officer. All of those listed were reputed to be gangsters or racketeers, although all were known to be consistent law breakers none of those named were fugitives or were actively wanted by the law. The lists purpose was clearly to shame those named and to encourage authorities to prosecute them, the phrase was later appropriated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, who used it to describe various notorious fugitives they were pursuing throughout the 1930s. Unlike Loeschs use of the term, the FBIs Public Enemies were wanted criminals, among the criminals whom the FBI called public enemies were John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker, and Alvin Karpis. The term was used so extensively during the 1930s that some writers call that period of the FBIs early history the Public Enemy Era, Dillinger, Floyd, Nelson, and Karpis, in that order, would be deemed Public Enemy Number 1 from June 1934 to May 1936. Use of the term evolved into the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. It was used in speeches, books, press releases, and internal memoranda, the dictionary definition of public enemy at Wiktionary Alphonse Capone Documentary - Public Enemy Number One
7. Midwestern United States