Cup Match is about cricket and celebrating all things Bermudian, but there’s a very serious side to our annual holiday too.
The first day of Cup Match is Emancipation Day, which celebrates the end of slavery in Bermuda, declared on August 1, 1834. Roughly 60% of Bermudians have African ancestry and many are direct descendants of enslaved persons from the West Indies and West Africa, brought here during the 18th century. This Cup Match holiday, take time to learn about Bermuda’s history of enslavement and the events that lead to Emancipation by joining in on a historical lecture and exploring the island’s African Diaspora Heritage Trail.
The second day of Cup Match is Mary Prince Day (formerly Somers Day). Mary Prince was born an enslaved person in 1788 in Brackish Pond, Bermuda. She was bought and sold many times throughout her youth, each one of her owners subjecting her to violence and emotional abuse. In 1828, Mary Prince convinced her enslaver to allow her to travel to London with him. It was during that trip that she escaped, seeking refuge with a man named Thomas Pringle, a founder of the Anti-Slavery Society. It was then that Mary Prince began telling her story. Mary Prince’s autobiography, “The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave” was published in 1831; it was the first book of its kind and remains to this day the only first-hand account of the brutalities of enslavement in Bermuda. The History of Mary Prince is acknowledged to have played a significant role in the abolishment of slavery throughout the British colonies. “The History of Mary Prince” is available for purchase from local bookstores.
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