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Londoners campaign for Mary Prince statue

A petition to put up a statue in London of Mary Prince, the enslaved Bermudian who gained her freedom and became a hero of the abolitionist movement, had attracted more than 1,100 signatures by last night.

The Change.org campaign, started by Rhiannon Lee, said: “Following the recent removal of statues which depict proslavery historical figures such as the slaveholder Robert Milligan in the UK, this petition proposes to replace the statue outside the Museum of London Docklands with a statue of the female abolitionist Mary Prince.”

Ms Prince was the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament and the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave.

“To date, there is no statue recognising the legacy of Mary Prince's work in campaigning for the end of slavery in the UK and first-hand account of the cruelty of slavery.”

The Milligan statue was removed last month to “recognise the wishes of the community” by the Canal and River Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The charity said at the time: “The Trust stands with our waterside communities against racism. We promote equality, diversity and inclusion, using our canals to enrich the lives of all those alongside our waterways from every community.”

Mary Prince's autobiography, published in 1831, exposed the vicious nature of enslavement in Bermuda and the Caribbean.

It was announced last week that Devonshire Bay Park on the South Shore would be renamed in her honour.

Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Community Affairs and Sport, said that public consultation would start soon on a monument to commemorate Ms Prince at the Mary Prince Emancipation Park.

Ms Prince, who became a hero of the abolitionist movement in Britain, will be honoured on the second day of Cup Match for the first time this year, which was changed from Somers Day to Mary Prince Day by Parliament in February.

The removed Docklands statue was unveiled in 1813 to commemorate Robert Milligan, a wealthy Scottish plantation owner in Jamaica who owned hundreds of slaves.

Mr Milligan moved to London from Jamaica and was the driving force behind the creation of London's West India Docks, which became one of the world's major ports. He died in 1809.

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Published July 23, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 23, 2020 at 9:00 am)

Londoners campaign for Mary Prince statue

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