I AM QUEEN MARY

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QUEEN MARY HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATION copy.jpg

The Return of a Queen

I Am Queen Mary takes as its point of departure the historical figure of Mary Thomas, an important leader of the ‘Fireburn’ labour revolt on St. Croix. The uprising began on October 1, 1878 as a protest against the contractual servitude that continued to bind workers to the plantation system even after the abolition of slavery in 1848. As its name suggests, this plea for better working and living conditions involved burning down most of Frederiksted town as well as sugar cane fields on a great number of St. Croix’s plantations. Along with Mary Thomas, three other women, Axeline ‘Agnes’ Elizabeth Salomon, Matilde McBean and Susanna ‘Bottom Belly’ Abrahamson are known as the leaders and “Queens” of the Fireburn. They were arrested and sent to Denmark in 1882 to serve prison sentences in Christianshavn’s Women’s Prison. All were later returned to the Virgin Islands and have become venerated as legends in the cultural mythology with Queen Mary emerging as the most popular having a folksong and a highway named in her honor.

 
 

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