Sculpture Dedicated to Freedom Fighter
On May 12, a beautiful statue of Mary Ann Shadd Cary by local sculptor Donna Mayne was unveiled at the University of Windsor’s downtown campus at the corner of Ferry and Chatham Streets.
Windsor, Ontario has always been a very important place in the cross border organizing of freedom fighters. Those who liberated themselves from slavery led and organized networks and systems to liberate others in what has come to be called “The Underground Railroad.” This area was a converging point for organizers who took up the cause of liberation and self-determination. Mary Ann Shadd, a teacher, author, newspaper publisher and abolitionist was one of those who led this work and was instrumental in giving voice to this cause. Her example is a model of building self-reliant and independent institutions and instruments of liberation that permit the oppressed to speak for themselves in their own names.
The plaque’s inscription, detailing Shadd’s life and work reads:
“Born in Delaware to free African American parents, Mary Ann Shadd was an experienced teacher, abolitionist and author prior to arriving in Windsor in 1851. Here, Shadd established an integrated school. Her 1852 monograph, a plea for emigration or notes of Canada West, urged free blacks to seek refuge in Canada from racial oppression in the United States. In 1852, she became the first black woman in North America to publish a weekly newspaper when she established The Provincial Freeman, which championed abolitionism, temperance and the rights of Blacks and women, encouraging self-reliance as the true road to independence. Subsequently she relocated to Toronto and Chatham, married black businessman Thomas Cary, and raised a family. Departing Canada in 1863, the widowed Shadd Cary went on to become a union army recruiter, school principal, attorney, and women’s suffragist. She was designated a person of national significance in 1994.”