Mural of Mary Ann Shadd, the first black woman to publish a newspaper in North America

Afrofuturist and muralist Adeyemi Adegbesan

Portrait of Mary Ann Shadd by Adeyemi Adegbesan outside of Mackenzie House at 82 Bond Street in Toronto, Canada. Curated by Umbereen for Toronto History Museums.

Adeyemi Adegbesan: This year I was given the opportunity to pay tribute to a person whose life and work had a tremendous impact on the lives of black people and women across North America. Mary Ann Shadd was the first black woman to publish a newspaper in North America, and the first woman to do so in Canada. She was also the first black woman to gain a law degree in the US, a recruiter for the Union army during the civil war, a teacher, aided in the underground railroad and was a strong voice in the abolitionist and suffragist movements.

At the start of this project I knew very little about her as her legacy has gotten far less attention than I think it deserves.


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