A Black Woman’s Odyssey Through Russia and Jamaica: The Narrative of Nancy Prince

Memories of Africa, pre-civil war New England, political turmoil in Russia, the end of slavery in Jamaica, and Caribbean pirates; an intrepid black woman experiences many turning points in world history.

Nancy Prince paints a blunt picture of the struggle of free blacks to make a living in the North. When Boston failed to provide her with a livable wage, she and her husband found employment on a boat bound for Russia. A black household servant was a rare commodity in the land of the czars, and Prince was well compensated in St. Petersburg.


Nancy Prince, author, was a free black who lived in Massachusetts before the Civil War. She moved with her husband to Russia and later traveled to a refugee camp for runaway slaves in Jamaica, giving her a unique insight into Russian life and American slavery.

Patricia Romero, editor (Johns Hopkins University) is the author of Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical and Lamu: History, Society, and Family in an East African Port CityShe also edited A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoirs and Women’s Voices on Africa (also available from Markus Wiener).

Ronald Walters, introduction, is a professor of Afro-American History at Johns Hopkins University.