He had no opportunities for a formal education and was largely self-educated.
Prescod’s prosecution on libel charges intensified his popularity. He won a seat in the Barbados Assembly from Bridgetown, the capital city, in 1843, the first nonwhite to sit in the Assembly. As a legislator, he quickly developed ties with persons of enlightened opinion in the British Parliament and came to be the leader of the Liberal Party in the Barbados House. He fought unsuccessfully for universal adult suffrage and for an Executive Committee system of government, which was not finally adopted in Barbados until 1881.
Prescod retired from the Assembly in 1860, to become judge of the assistant court of appeals, a position he retained until he died.
Prescod began his campaign in support of the rights of the Barbadian coloured population in 1838. He became the acknowledged leader of the free colored population, and it was largely through his efforts that in 1831 the franchise was extended to them and all civil restriction on their activities was removed.
With the abolition of slavery in 1834, Prescod fought for the rights of the ex-slaves and against the system of apprenticeship required of the slaves prior to full emancipation.
Prescod saw the struggle as one of the “poor and middle classes of all complexions against the unjust assumptions of the wealthy few.” His goal was to unite the coloureds, the ex-slaves, and the whites into a “grand radical alliance” against the privileged. He became the editor of the first coloured newspaper on the island and for 25 years was editor of a radical journal, The Liberal, which he saw as a means of bridging the racial divide among blacks, coloureds, and whites. The Liberal became one of the most popular journals in Barbados and throughout the West Indies.