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Devonshire park renamed for hero Mary Prince

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Mary Prince, the enslaved Bermudian who gained her freedom, wrote a book and became a hero of the abolitionist movement in Britain, is to have a park renamed in her honour.

Devonshire Bay Park on the South Shore will also get a monument to commemorate Ms Prince, whose autobiography, published in 1831, exposed the vicious nature of enslavement in Bermuda and the Caribbean.

Lovitta Foggo, the community affairs minister, told the House of Assembly that public consultation would start soon on the monument for the Mary Prince Emancipation Park. She said Devonshire Bay was chosen to recognise Ms Prince's links to the parish.

Ms Foggo added: “Mary Prince was born in Brackish Pond. Brackish Pond was the colloquial name, at that time, for the parish of Devonshire and most of the houses where she was enslaved were also in Devonshire.

“This site not only reflects her connection to Devonshire, but the park's good access, central location, tranquility and proximity to the ocean facing south, as an acknowledgement of the parts of her life spent in the Caribbean, provides an ideal location to commemorate Mary Prince.”

Ms Foggo said: “Our national hero, Mary Prince, is recognised on the world stage for the crucial role she played in the abolition of slavery.”

Ms Prince will be commemorated for the first time this year on the second day of Cup Match, which was changed from Somers Day to Mary Prince Day by Parliament in February.

Christopher Famous, the MP for the constituency, said the renaming of the park and erection of a monument was “overdue”.

Mr Famous was one of the main campaigners in the Progressive Labour Party for the Cup Match name change.

He said: “It's an honour, because Bermuda has been slow to recognise her for what she has done for the world.

“For her to be honoured with a park in the parish in which she was born makes it that much more significant.”

Mr Famous added the island was “still in the toddler stages of properly recognising what emancipation is truly about”.

He said the commemoration marked the first time a park in Bermuda had been named after a black person.

Mr Famous added: “Hopefully, all residents of Bermuda will learn more about Mary Prince and emancipation.”

The move was welcomed in a statement by the charity Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda.

The statement said Curb was “excited” to hear of the commemorations around Cup Match this year, particularly “Mary Prince's extraordinary contributions to the emancipation of Bermudians of African descent, and the hundreds of thousands” of other people throughout the British colonies that were freed by emancipation in 1834.

The statement added: “While we recognise how important this memorial will be to Bermudians, we cannot overlook that Mary Prince's story impacted worldwide emancipation in the British colonies, as she was pivotal in changing the hearts and minds of the voting public in the United Kingdom, with the publication of her book The History of Mary Prince, the first account of the life of an enslaved black woman published in the UK, in 1831.”

The group said the monument would be “a moving and inspirational addition to the African Diaspora Heritage Trail in Bermuda, being visited by locals and overseas visitors alike”.

To read Lovitta Foggo's statement in full, and for a list of virtual Cup Match events, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

In remembrance: Devonshire Bay Park on the South Shore, the site of a fort that became a park in 1932, is to be renamed in tribute to Mary Prince (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published July 18, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 18, 2020 at 9:00 am)

Devonshire park renamed for hero Mary Prince

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