Google Doodle: Abolitionist and suffragist Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Today’s Google Doodle honors the 197th birthday of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, editor, and publisher of American-Canadian newspapers, writer, teacher, lawyer, abolitionist, and suffragist.

Today’s Google Doodle was illustrated Canada-based guest artist, Michelle Theodore, and pays homages to Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first Black female newspaper editor and publisher in North America.

“Were it not for the monster of slavery, we would have a common destiny here, in the land of our birth”. Mary Ann Shadd Cary


Mary Ann Shadd Cary was also the second Black woman in the United States to receive a law degree and was remembered as a “brave pioneer in the struggle for abolition and women’s suffrage.”

Shadd, the eldest of 13 children, was born to parents who were committed abolitionists in Wilmington, Delaware, on 9 October 1823. Her parents converted their house into a safe haven for escaping slaves, according to Google.

When the schooling of African-American children was deemed illegal in Delaware, the family moved to Pennsylvania. In 1840, Shadd graduated from the Quaker Boarding program in Pennsylvania.

Shadd returned to East Chester, a city in southern Westchester County , New York, after graduation, and set up a school for black children. She also lectured in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and New York City later on.


In 1948, Frederick Douglass published her work in his journal, The Northern Star, which was characterized as a bold call to action for the abolitionist movement and to better the lives of African-Americans.

 “We should do more and talk less.”

Google Doodle: Abolitionist and suffragist Mary Ann Shadd Cary

In the aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was a significant danger to black people in the United States, the Shadd family moved to Canada. Shadd published her historic newspaper, The Provincial Freemen, three years later.

It was a black weekly newspaper targeted primarily at escaping slaves. Shadd Cary was recognized by the country in 1994 as a Person of National Historic Importance for her invaluable contributions to Canadian history. 


Shadd met and married Thomas Cary, a Toronto barber, in 1856, shortly after launching The Provincial Freemen. Four years later, Cary tragically passed away, and the couple shared a daughter named Sarah and a son named Linton.


Shadd Cary and her children returned to the United States after his death, where she worked as a recruitment officer to recruit Black volunteers for the Union Army in Indiana State..

Shadd and her children moved back to the United States not long after that, where she attended Howard University in Washington , D.C. In Wilmington and Washington DC, she continued to teach.

At the age of 60, Shadd graduated from Howard University in 1883, becoming the second black woman to receive a law degree in the United States. She died of stomach cancer in Washington , D.C, on 5 June 1893.