Since there are so many facets of the history that people of African descent have made in this country, I’ve decided to continue my “Black History 365″ series from my poetry blog here on my AfrocentriqueAZ blog. I’ll be posting a new “First Black” every day this month and every Wednesday for the months after that.
In honor of WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH all March the articles will all be about first Black WOMEN… Today’s is Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Mary Ann Shadd Cary (October 9, 1823 – June 5, 1893) was an American-Canadian 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.
Shadd Cary was an abolitionist who became the first female African American newspaper editor in North America when she edited the Provincial Freeman in 1853
When the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 in the United States threatened to return free northern blacks and escaped slaves into bondage, Shadd and her brother Isaac moved to Canada and settled in Windsor, Ontario, across the border from Detroit. In Windsor, she founded a racially integrated school with the support of the American Missionary Association.
After her husband died in 1860, Shadd Cary and her children returned to the United States. During the Civil War, at the behest of the abolitionist Martin Delany, she served as a recruiting officer to enlist black volunteers for the Union Army in the state of Indiana. After the Civil War, she taught in black schools in Wilmington, before moving to Washington, D.C., where she taught in public schools and attended Howard University School of Law. She graduated as a lawyer at the age of 60 in 1883, becoming only the second black woman in the United States to earn a law degree. She wrote for the newspapers National Era and The People’s Advocate.
Shadd Cary joined the National Woman Suffrage Association, working alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for women’s suffrage, testifying before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.
She died in Washington, D.C., on June 5, 1893. She was interred at Columbian Harmony Cemetery.