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OCTOBER 9, 1823–JUNE 5, 1893

Mary Ann Shadd Cary was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1823. She was an educator, journalist, publisher, and activist. She spent her early career working as a teacher before she moved to Ontario, Canada, in the early 1850s.

In 1853, Cary began publishing her own newspaper called The Provincial Freeman, making her the first Black woman to be a publisher in North America. The Provincial Freeman called for African Americans to emigrate to Canada, which was safer for ex-slaves than the United States was. Cary sought to establish successful and independent Black communities in Ontario. In her newspaper, she advocated for temperance, Black education, and women’s rights.

Cary later returned to the United States and earned her law degree from Howard University in 1883. She continued to work as a journalist and activist, joining the National American Woman Suffrage Association and organizing her own suffrage organization for Black women, the Colored Women’s Progressive Franchise Association. She died in 1893 at age 69.

 

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