U Street Corridor in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Mary Ann Shadd Cary Residence
African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC
—1421 W Street, NW —
When the lists of African American “firsts” are read, Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s name is everywhere. Born in Delaware to a free Black abolitionist family, Cary (1823-1893) moved to Canada in 1850 and ran a racially integrated school. Her anti-slavery newspaper made her the first Black female editor and publisher in North America. Moving to Washington after the Civil War, Cary enrolled in Howard University Law School as one of the nation’s first Black female law students, and she also taught school here. She challenged the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and won the right to vote in federal elections, a right not granted to women in general until 1920.
Lawyer, abolitionist, suffragist, and publisher, Mary Ann Shadd Cary: “You have a right to your freedom and to every other privilege connected with it.”
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.
Has been designated a
National Historic Landmark
This site possesses national
In commemorating the history of the
United States of America.
An African American renaissance woman, abolitionist, educator, editor, military recruitment officer, woman suffragist, lawyer, and mother, Mary Ann Shadd Cary lived at his residence from 1881-1886. Her life is distinguished by her dedication to freedom, equality, and the advancement of her people.
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Marker series. This marker is included in the African American Heritage Trail, and the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
Location. 38° 55.165′ N, 77° 1.975′ W. Marker is in U Street Corridor, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on W Street Northwest west of 14th Street Northwest, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1421 W Street Northwest, Washington DC 20009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Place to Grow (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Fedora (about 500 feet away); Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church (about 600 feet away); Meridian Hill Park Buchanan (about 600 feet away); Pitts Motor Hotel (about 600 feet away); Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (approx. 0.2 miles away); Riots to Renaissance (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in U Street Corridor.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Mary Ann Shadd bio. ... She was educated by Quakers and taught Black children across the northeastern United States (New York; Morristown, N.J.) before crossing the border into Canada in 1851 as part of the growing Black emigrationist movement. She set up a school for the children of fugitive slaves and became an influential figure in the communities established by expatriated African Americans. In Canada, Mary founded a racially integrated school in Canada with the support of the American Missionary Association. At this time she joined abolitionists Mary and Henry Bibb to fight against exploitive antislavery agents known as "begging agents." She simultaneously criticized Black Southern ministry and other Blacks who did not teach intellectual growth and self reliance to other Blacks. In 1852 she wrote "Notes on Canada West" which pursuaded American Blacks to come to Canada. She wrote pamphlet Notes on Canada West (1852). In March 1853 she began publishing the Provincial Freeman, which became the main voice for Canada's Black communities and a forum for debate over abolitionist strategies. ... (Submitted on April 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Mary Ann Shadd. ... After her husband died in 1860, Shadd Cary and her children returned to the United States. During the Civil War, she served as a recruiting officer to enlist Black volunteers for the Union Army in the state of Indiana. After the Civil War, she taught in Black schools in Wilmington, before moving to Washington, D.C., where she taught in public schools and attended Howard University School of Law. She graduated as a lawyer in 1883, becoming only the second [sic] Black woman in the United States to earn a law degree. She wrote for the newspapers National Era and The People's Advocate. (Submitted on April 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. Black emigrationist movement; Canada.
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Education •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on April 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,853 times since then and 25 times this year. Last updated on December 13, 2012, by Keith S Smith of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.