Mary Ann Shadd Cary (d. 1893), an American-Canadian, contributed to peace by her anti-slavery activism. #Canada150
Mary Ann Shadd Cary was anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher and lawyer. She was the first black woman publisher in North America and the first woman publisher in Canada when she started the black newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, a Toronto based weekly publication for African Americans, especially escaped slaves. She wrote many of the articles herself, and often returned to the United States to gather information for the paper. In addition to creating a newspaper, Shadd Cary established a school in Windsor, Ontario that was open to children of all races. While living in Canada, she met Thomas F. Cary. The couple married in 1856 and had two children. He died only a few years later.
The eldest of 13 children, Shadd Cary was born into a free African-American family. Her father worked for the abolitionist newspaper called the Liberator run by famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and provided help to escaped slaves as a member of the Underground Railroad. Shadd Cary would grow up to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Shadd Cary was educated at a Quaker school in Pennsylvania, and she later started her own school for African Americans. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, she went to Canada with one of her brothers. Not long after, the entire Shadd family moved there. In 1852, Shadd Cary wrote a report encouraging other African Americans to make the trek north to Canada.
When the Civil War broke out, Mary Ann Shadd Cary returned to the United States to help in the war effort. In 1863, she worked as a recruiting officer for the Union Army in Indiana, and encouraged African Americans to join the fight against the Confederacy and against slavery. After the war, Cary became a pioneering spirit in a new direction, earning a law degree in 1883 from Howard University. She was the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a law degree.
Want to learn more? Here is a video about Mary Ann on the Toronto Sun website.