The Value of Rights, Freedoms, & Protections: Reflecting on Emancipation & our first Mary Prince Day

The year 2020 has given us a strange Cup Match holiday week - thanks to COVID-19, it has been a break without the Cup Match itself. This year is also remarkable for the change in name of the second day, in honour of one of Bermuda's National Heroes: Mary Prince, a key figure in the abolitionist movement. These two factors combined have perhaps given us an added reminder to reflect on the first day's namesake: Emancipation.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade marks one of the worst stains on the soul of the Western world. Slavery had existed in the ancient world, but early modern practices radically changed and institutionalised it. The status of slave became an inheritable trait, and the focus on Africa for indentured servants led to prejudiced treatment of all people based on the shade of their skin.

Atlantic commerce also changed the practice by dramatically industrialising slavery on a scale that had never been seen before, as Europeans sought to exploit entire continents for resources. To do so, slave traders utilised a tool we are all too familiar with today: data.