Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Slave Fugitive: Mary Price

Mary Price was not an American Slave.  She was part of the British Empire, her family living in Bermuda.  She was the play mate of her master's daughter.  She was too young to understand her condition as a slave, but the master's daughter would call her "my little nigger."  At twelve, the family was short of money, and Mary  and two of her sisters were to be sole.  Her mother said, "See, I am shrouding my poor children." Mary and her sisters were sold like cattle.
She now belonged to Captain and Mrs. I.  She received 100 lashes for breaking a jar.  She befriended another slave, who milked the cow.  The cow got loss and the friend was beaten to death.  Then it fell to Mary to milk the cow.  This lead to several more beatings.  She was hipped and badly injured, so she ran away home to her mother.  Her father took her back a few days later, asking that they not beat her.  This only changed their behavior for a few days.
She was sold after five years to Mr. D. who took her to Turks Islands, where she worked in salt ponds.  This was terrible labor.  The salt caused great boils.  If they did not work fast enough, he would hang them by the wrists for a beating.  This finished with salt water being splashed on the wounds which caused greater pain.  "Oh--the horrors of slavery" she said of this time.  Mr. D's son served as overseer, and was crueler than her father. 
Mr. D returned to Bermuda with Mr. D.  She was able to see her mother (her father had passed away).  However Mr. D. now began using her for sex, raping her as he wanted.
She eventually convinced Mr. D. to sell her.  She was moved to Antigua, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wood.  She was over worked.  She suffered from arthritis due to past miss treatment, but was still expected to do her work.  She developed a skin infection, and couldn't walk.  She was kicked out of the home to the shed, to live or die.  A neighbor heard her moans and procured medical attention for her.
She married a free man, and her owners were disappointed they had not been asked for permission.  Her husband lived in the shed.  She asked about purchasing her freedom, and was laughed at. 
Her owners too her to England, perhaps to end her marriage.  She was still invalid but required to work.  Three times the family mocked her, if you don't like it, leave.  On the fourth invitation, she shocked them by leaving. 
She found help from religious groups as well as from anti-slavery groups.  The idea of emancipation was being debated in England at the time.  Mary was helped to publish her history, and this history was  read by many in Parliament.  In 1833 a law abolishing slavery the next year was passed.  Mary had a part in this.

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