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National Maritime Museum

Explore the lives and impact of black revolutionary women, Nanny of the Maroons and Mary Prince, through trails, online quizzes and activity packs inspired by items on display at the National Maritime Museum and in Royal Museums Greenwich's collections.

These downloadable trails below will take you on a self-guided tour around the National Maritime Museum, highlighting the objects, places and people linked to the lives of these extraordinary campaigners.

The trails are written by black feminist writer and historian, Stella Dadzie. 

Stella is best known for her co-authorship of The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain.  Her latest book, A Kick in the Belly: Women, Slavery and Resistance (Verso, 2020) explores how enslaved women ‘kicked back’ against enslavement. 

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A digital artwork of Nanny of the Marrons by artist, Karen McLean, showing a defiant Nanny in black and white with her right fist held in the air

Nanny of the Maroons

Nanny of the Maroons, thought to have been born around 1686, led a community of formerly enslaved Africans called the Windward Maroons in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains in the early 18th century. Under Nanny’s leadership, the Windward Maroons fought a guerrilla war against the British, known as the First Maroon War, which lasted for many years.

The Maroons’ mastery of guerrilla warfare made it impossible to defeat them in battle. Nanny’s military prowess and supernatural powers are believed to have played an important role in their prolonged and successful resistance. During the many years of warfare, the British suffered significant losses and were never able to defeat them.

Download this self-guided trail around the National Maritime Museum to find out more about Nanny's story.

Find out more about Nanny

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An illustration showing a black woman with a child on her back and holding a basket containing what looks like laundry on her head

Mary Prince

Mary Prince was one of numerous women who supported the campaign to abolish Slavery.  Much of what is known about her comes from an account of her life, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself which was published in London in 1831.

Mary is the only enslaved West Indian woman to leave an account of her life. Her story highlights the important contribution of women who took a stand against the mistreatment of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the British West Indies and across the Americas.

Download this self-guided trail around the National Maritime Museum to find out more about Mary's life.

Find out more about Mary Prince

Take the quiz

Delve deeper into collection items linked to the abolitionist movement

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Question 1

WHAT SLOGAN IS PRINTED ON THESE FOUR GLASS SEALS?

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Answer 1

‘Am I not a woman and a sister?’ 

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Question 2

IN THIS POSTER ADVERTISING THE SALE OF SLAVES, WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF GRACE’S TWO CHILDREN?

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Answer 2
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Question 3

ON THIS ABOLITIONIST MEDALLION ‘AM I NOT A WOMAN AND A SISTER?’ WHAT IS THE STANDING WOMAN HOLDING IN HER HAND?    

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Answer 3

The Scales of Justice

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Question 4

WHAT IS FEATURED ON THE REVERSE OF THIS ABOLITIONIST PIN CUSHION? 

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Answer 4

An extract from the ‘Royal Jamaican Gazette’ of 1 August 1827, advertising the sale of a black child aged seven, with a biblical quotation beneath it.

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Question 5

ON THIS WHITE PORCELEIN CUP COMMEMORATING THE END OF SLAVERY, WHAT ARE THE TWO ENSLAVED MEN DOING? 

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Answer 5

One is being handed his freedom on a piece of paper, the other is dancing for joy 

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