Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Lived:January 1, 1823—June 5, 1893 (aged 70)

Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an abolitionist, journalist, suffragist and educator. She was also the first female African American newspaper editor in North America after starting the Black newspaper The Provincial Freeman.

Shadd Cary was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1823 into a free African American family and was the oldest of 13. Shadd Cary moved to Canada later in her life but continued her work with her newspaper, a weekly publication for African Americans, by frequently traveling back to the U.S. to gather information for the paper.

After the Civil War started, Shadd Cary returned to the U.S. to work as a recruiting officer for the Union Army in Indiana. After the war, she earned a law degree from Howard University, becoming the first African American woman in the U.S. to do so.

Shadd Cary joined the National Woman Suffrage Association and worked with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She testified with them before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary passed away on June 5, 1893, from stomach cancer.

“Cary, Mary Ann Shadd.” National Women's Hall of Fame. National Women's Hall of Fame. Accessed January 22, 2020.

“Mary Ann Shadd Cary (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, July 8, 2019.