OTR Celebrates June with Susanna Strickland Moodie

“The want of education and moral training is the only real barrier that exists between the different classes of men.”

Susanna Strickland Moodie

Welcome to Canada

Welcome to Canada

Susanna Moodie was not one to stand back when things needed to be said, to be written, to be done.  In 1822, when she was still in her teens, she wrote her first children’s book.  In her twenties, she became involved in Britain’s Anti-Slavery Society, an organization dedicated to the abolition of slavery throughout the British Dominions.  Thomas Pringle, an abolitionist writer and Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, chose Susanna to transcribe the story of a former Caribbean slave, Mary Prince, who was born into slavery in Devonshire Parish, Bermuda. (Another interesting narrative that I must look into for a later blog series!!)  The book, “The History of Mary Prince A West Indian Slave”, first published in 1831, sold out in three printings. The same year, on April 4th, Susanna married John Moodie, a retired officer who had served in the Napoleonic Wars.  A year later, the couple with a young baby daughter immigrated to Canada.

It had been a whirlwind decade.  And her adventures were only beginning!

My Autograph

What — write my name!
How vain the feeble trust,
To be remembered
When the hand is dust —
Grieve rather that the talents freely given
Were used for earth — not treasured up for Heaven!

Susanna Strickland Moodie

8 thoughts on “OTR Celebrates June with Susanna Strickland Moodie

  1. Oh, what a glorious photo – is it one of your own ?… so beautiful.
    Susanna sounds something ! Those women just fill me with admiration… nothing was easy for them if they wanted to achieve things…

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    • Yes, that is my very own photo – it was a beautiful day! I confess that I just discovered Susanna Moodie. And I truly wonder why that is, considering that she is vintage Canadian. Sometimes, I find that esteemed literary societies elevate poets, writers, musicians, artists, to near divinity status. It is shameful exclusivity, in my opinion. As if one had to meet a certain level of education before a writer or artist’s creativity could be fully enjoyed or understood. I downloaded “Roughing it in the Bush” on Kindle (it is a free book). I find Susanna refreshing, honest, and direct. She is flesh and blood – a woman, as you so eloquently said, that “fills me with admiration.” Certainly a woman who would prefer to share her talents will everyone, not just a few. As you can see, this is a subject that is near and dear to me. Just the other day, I was at Starbucks and overheard two young people talking about Shakespeare – why was he so boring. I couldn’t help myself. I had to go over and give them the opening lines of Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day. That led to an insightful dialogue. We must continue to share the joys of literature….
      If anyone understands, I know you do, my dear friend.

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      • I loved this comment Rebecca, and should have replied before, but have been felled by the dentist and complications…How I would love to have a conversation face to face !
        I loved the idea of you reciting Shakespeare to the young… what a marvellous moment that must have been for them…

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      • I would love a face to face. Hope you are on the mend. I am always glad to have a dentist nearby, just in case I have a toothache. It comes from living in northern Manitoba when the dentist would fly in from the “city” on a monthly basis. The first time I fell in love with Shakespeare was when I watched “The Taming of the Shrew” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. I especially like the “moon” discourse. I sent my two friends off to watch Kenneth Branagh! I love Derek Jacobi’s prologue:

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      • He is amazing, isn’t he – thank you for this. I saw Henry V when I was about five… my mother took me with her… I always remembered Olivier making love to Katherine in the walled garden..
        And yes, Loved The Taming of the Shrew… I took my four year old daughter to see it three times… she adored it, and played at being brides after that,….and could hum the music!

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      • Isn’t it interesting how we know the exact time and place that we were introduced to our dear William Shakespeare. A wonderful legacy that your mother gave to you … so that you could give it to the next generation. Let’s keep on humming the music!

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