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Meet Mary Ann Shadd

Elizabeth MacLeod

Meet Mary Ann Shadd

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Meet Mary Ann Shadd: anti-slavery activist, newspaper publisher, and social justice pioneer!

The award-winning Scholastic Canada Biography series highlights the lives of remarkable Canadians whose achievements have inspired and changed the lives of those who followed.

Mary Ann Shadd was born free in 1823 in Delaware. Her parents were abolitionists, and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad. Her family moved to Canada in 1851 after the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted, and as a young woman, Shadd became a trailblazer in every realm she touched — opening a desegregated school in Chatham, Ontario; becoming the first Black female newspaper publisher in North America with the Provincial Freeman; becoming a suffrage activist; and at the age of 60 earning a law degree to become one of the first Black women to practice law!

Mary Ann was truly remarkable, for her time or any other, unafraid to speak up and fight for equal rights — for Black people, for women and for everybody.

Written by award-winning author Elizabeth MacLeod, this portrait of Mary Ann Shadd couples simple yet compelling writing with comic-flavoured illustrations by Mike Deas that help bring her fascinating story to life!

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