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Call to change Somers Day to Mary Prince Day

The History of Mary Prince

An annual holiday should honour a national hero, a racial justice organisation urged last night.

Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda said that the second day of Cup Match should be named Mary Prince Day.

The organisation said that the designation would ensure the holiday “honours and memorialises emancipation and all those who fought for freedom”.

It added that Ms Prince “today renowned and celebrated worldwide as a heroine and abolitionist for her courage, fortitude and determination, is surely worthy of the celebration of her name at Cup Match”.

Ms Prince, the daughter of two slaves, was born in 1788 at Brackish Pond in Devonshire, now known as Devonshire Marsh.

Her autobiography, The History of Mary Prince, was published in 1831. It detailed first-hand the brutality of slavery in Bermuda and the British Caribbean.

She was inducted as a Bermuda national hero in 2012.

The organisation called on the Government “to fully recognise the emancipation origins of Cup Match and the intent by those enslaved to both commemorate and celebrate their freedom”.

It said that the push was part of the organisation’s Racial Justice Platform for 2019.

It added that the platform “is a list of items, actions and legislation, which Curb believes will bring about a greater equity and healthier Bermuda for all”.

The organisation added that the measures “are necessary to help us move forward to create stronger community”.

It said the full platform would be released this month.

The second day of Cup Match is known as Somers Day for Sir George Somers, admiral of the relief fleet for Virginia that wrecked here on July 28, 1609, leading to permanent English settlement.

Christopher Famous, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, last summer called for the name of the holiday to be changed.

Mr Famous told the House of Assembly: “Stop naming the second day of our emancipation after a slave owner.”