Mary Ann Shadd (1823-1893) was a nineteenth-century educator, integrationist, suffragist and abolitionist.
Mary is best known as the first black woman editor of a newspaper in North America. Mary opened the first integrated school in Canada and became the first female black lawyer in the United States. An advocate for the social and political integration of blacks into white institutions, Mary used her education and limited freedoms to fight for an end to racial oppression and slavery.
After the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Mary decided to take her fight for integration to Canada. In 1851, Mary moved to Windsor, Canada, and opened a school for the children of black refugees. In 1853, in Chatham, Ontario, Mary established her own newspaper, the Provincial Freeman, in which she shared her views on the need for full integration, gender equality and racial parity and urged free blacks and fugitives to emigrate and settle permanently in Canada. During this period, Mary became the most outspoken anti-slavery activist in the province.
Part of Racism Free Ontario’s 100 People of Colour Spotlight.
(via Mary Ann Shadd – Racism Free Ontario Initiative. See link for featured video.)