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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1998
Birth: 1823 - Death: 1893
Born In: Delaware, United States of America
Died In: District of Columbia, United States of America
Achievements: Humanities
Educated In: Pennsylvania, District of Columbia
Schools Attended: Howard University
Worked In: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, District of Columbia

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Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born in Wilmington, Delaware, the eldest of 13 children of free Negro (as African Americans were known then) parents became a role model for women in education and law.  After receiving an education from Pennsylvania Quakers, Cary devoted the first part of her life to abolition, working with fugitive slaves, and becoming the first African American woman in North America to edit a weekly newspaper -- the Provincial Freeman, devoted to displaced Americans living in Canada.  She then became a teacher, establishing or teaching in schools for Negroes in Wilmington; West Chester, Pennsylvania; New York; Morristown, New Jersey; and Canada. She was also the first woman to speak at a national Negro convention. During the Civil War, Cary helped recruit African-American soldiers for the Union Army. She then taught in Washington, D.C., public schools until, in 1869, she embarked on her second career, becoming the first woman to enter Howard University's law school.  She was the first Negro woman to obtain a law degree and among the first women in the United States to do so.  She then fought alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for women's suffrage, testifying before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives and becoming the first Negro woman to cast a vote in a national election.  As an educator, an abolitionist, an editor, an attorney and a feminist, she dedicated her life to improving the quality of life for everyone -- black and white, male and female.
Additional Sources:

Beardon, Jim and Linda Jean Butler. Shadd: the Life and times of Mary Shadd Cary.Toronto: NC Press Ltd., c1977.

Hill, Daniel G. The Freedom-seekers:blacks in early Canada. Agincourt: The Book Society of Canada, c1981.

Rhodes, Jane. Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century. Indiana University Press, 1998.

Winks, Robin. The Blacks in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, c1971.

Edited by: Richard Almonte. A Plea for Emigration or, Notes of Canada West. Mercury Press, 1998. NOTES: Originally published in 1852.

National Women's Hall Event in Chicago