Mary Ann Shadd Cary
For this year’s Douglass Day celebration, we will be featuring a new crowdsourcing project on the papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893). We will be announcing our library and archive partner institutions, the digital project, speakers, and much more in Fall 2022.
Join us for Douglass Day 2023
Celebrate Shadd 200
Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893) was an activist, journalist, teacher, intellectual, and lawyer. Shadd Cary was one of the earliest Black women to found and edit a newspaper, attend law school, and serve as a Civil War recruiter. She grew up in the strong Black communities of Delaware and Philadelphia before emigrating to Canada. After the US Civil War, she moved to Washington DC.
Across all of these places, Shadd Cary worked endlessly to empower and educate Black people in the United States and Canada through her public writing and speaking, editing, suffrage activism, and community organizing. She was a fearless advocate for her causes. As she wrote in an 1849 letter to Frederick Dogulass, “in anything relating to our people, I am insensible of boundaries.”
Major Life Events
1823 – Born in Wilmington, DE (Oct 9)
1849 – Self-published Hints to the Colored People of the North (no known copies survive)
1851 – Emigrated to Canada
1852 – Self-published A Plea for Emigration; or Notes of Canada West
1853 – Founded The Provincial Freeman newspaper
1856 – Married Thomas Cary
1863 – Returned to the US to recruit Black troops for the Union Army
1869 – Enrolled at Howard Law School
1880 – Founded the Colored Women’s Progressive Franchise Association
1893 – Died in Washington, DC
Suggested Resources to Learn More
- “How Mary Ann Shadd Cary set the blueprint for abolitionist feminist writing,” by Huda Hassan, CBC Arts, October 27, 2022.
- “Overlooked No More: How Mary Ann Shadd Cary Shook Up the Abolitionist Movement,” by Megan Specia, The New York Times, June 6, 2018.
Books & Exhibits
- Rhodes, Jane. Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century. (Buy from IU Press)
- Digital exhibit for Douglass Day 2023: Mary Ann Shadd Cary & the Colored Conventions
- Black History in Canada: Mary Ann Shadd, Rella Black History Foundation
- Remember Me: Mary Ann Shadd Cary, The London Free Press
- “Mary Ann Shadd Cary” on Unsung History with Jane Rhodes and Kristin Moriah (guests)
Stay tuned for a variety of new books coming out in 2023 & 2024!
Links to Digital Collections
Have more resources to share? Please e-mail us at douglassdayorg AT gmail dot com!
Mary Ann Shadd Cary and the Power of Black Art – Oct 9, 2021 (detailed program & speaker info)
Mary Ann Shadd Cary: In the Here and Now, day 1 of 2 (detailed program & speaker info)
Mary Ann Shadd Cary: In the Here and Now, day 2 of 2 (detailed program & speaker info)
Awakenings Reflections with Adeyemi Adegbesan on “Luminary: Mary Ann Shadd” (Toronto, Canada)