Google is celebrating the 230th birthday of Mary Prince with a new doodle .
The campaigner helped turn public opinion against the slave trade following the publication of the History of Mary Prince, an account of her time as a slave .
Mary Prince was born in 1788 in Brackish Pond, Bermuda – then a British colony.
Her early years were spent being sold from master to master, ending up on the the island of Antigua in 1815 where she joined the Moravian Church and learned to read and write.
In December 1826, she wed former salve Daniel James but was punished by her master for marrying a free black man.
Two years later she was separated from her husband after her family took her to live in England.
The UK had abolished slavery on home soil after the passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1808 but had allowed the cruel practice to continue overseas.
Without the means to support herself, Prince was unable to return to the West Indies and risked being sold back into slavery if she left Britain.
In 1829 Prince became the first woman to present a petition to Parliament, arguing for her human right to freedom.
That same year some of her associates in the anti-slavery “abolitionist” movement introduced a bill proposing that any West Indian slave brought to England by his or her owners must be freed.
It did not pass, but momentum was beginning to shift in favor of the abolitionist cause.
Two years later Prince published her autobiography, making her the first black woman to publish a slave narrative in England.
Her book played a decisive role in turning British public opinion against the centuries-old institution of human enslavement.
“I have been a slave myself,”
Prince wrote in The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave.
“I know what slaves feel—I can tell by myself what other slaves feel, and by what they have told me.The man that says slaves be quite happy in slavery—that they don’t want to be free—that man is either ignorant or a lying person. I never heard a slave say so.”
Published in 1831, the book caused a sensation, going through three printings in the first year alone.
In one of the book’s many heartbreaking passages, Mary recalled being sold “like sheep or cattle” on the same day as her younger sisters Hannah and Dina were sold to different masters.
“When the sale was over, my mother hugged and kissed us, and mourned over us, begging of us to keep up a good heart, and do our duty to our new masters. It was a sad parting; one went one way, one another, and our poor mammy went home with nothing.”