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2. Jun 2022

A Narrative of The Life And Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince

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Nancy Gardner was born on September 15th, 1799 in Newburyport. She was the granddaughter of a Native American woman and an African veteran of the American Revolution and the stepdaughter of an African sailor. When Nancy was young, she worked as a servant for white families or sold berries with her brother to support the family. Nancy worked in Boston for several years, where she lived in dire poverty. On September 1st, 1823 she met Nero Prince, when he arrived in Boston. One year later, on February 14th, they both got married and moved to St. Petersburg, where her husband was employed as a court servant. There she spent about nine years becoming a small-business woman and working for religious and social reform among Protestants. In 1833 Nancy Prince returned to the United States in search of a milder climate and by 1840 was widowed but at the same time she was also impressed by the possibilities for black self- determination in the wake of West Indian emancipation. She was bound for Jamaica as a missionary, equipped with a particular commitment to improving the well- being of ex-slave women and children. She always found great support in God. After her return to the United States Nancy became active in abolitionist circles, arriving at the Fifth National Women’s Rights Convention in Pihladelphia to protest against the mistreatment of slave women. Nancy Prince also established a free labor school for black orphans, who should have equal rights to education. Despite these efforts and the publication of her autobiography, Nancy never seemed able to rise above poverty, and by the year 1857 she disappeared from public notice.


Nancy Prince is her own subject and object of mobility. However, certain parameters of travel, especially religion and her ethnicity determined her journey in a way that made her envisionise a society with diasporic consciousness that lives without discrimination and equal chances in education.

Nancy Prince (1799-1857)

Even though Nancy Prince didn’t have an easy life as a black woman who traveled, God and her faith in it were always by her side and gave her the support in life that she needed. Of course, obstacles such as discrimination did not make her life any easier, but she published her autobiography to show that she is not only able to work, but is also a traveler, woman, missionary or widow who advocates equal education for everyone. Nancy Prince shows us what God’s will was for her life and how exactly religion and being black are united.


Andrews, Larry. “TWO BLACK WOMEN IN RUSSIA: TACIT RACIAL IDENTITY AND THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.” CLA Journal, vol. 52, no. 4, 2009, pp. 327–52. JSTOR, Accessed 29 May 2022.

Gunning, Sandra. “Nancy Prince and the Politics of Mobility, Home and Diasporic (Mis)Identification.” American Quarterly, vol. 53, no. 1, 2001, pp. 32–69. JSTOR, Accessed 29 May 2022.

Kalous, Isabel. Black Travel Writing: Contemporary Narratives of Travel to Africa by African American and Black British Authors, transcript Verlag, 2021. pp. 31-48.

Prince, Nancy. A Narrative of The Life And Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince. WM. A. HALL, 1853.


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Nancy Prince: