Mary Ann Shadd is a nineteenth-century symbol woman in Canada. She is known as “The Rebel” because she was an educational reformer, an abolitionist, and a supporter of suffragism,as well as the first female newspaper editor in Canada and the first African-American female law student in North America. She was pivotal in founding a newspaper that helped disseminate herpolitical ideas.
Shadd served as editor, publisher, and investigative reporter for the anti-slavery newspaper The Provincial Freeman, under the slogan of “Self-reliance is the True Road to Independence”.She was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Later, her family moved to Pennsylvania. Her family’s shoemaking shop served also as a shelter for fugitive slaves.
From a very young age, Shadd was dedicated tothe education of her people. Afterwards she emigrated to Windsor to escape the threat of unlawful enslavement.
As a vocal and eloquent opponent of slavery in America, she became a strong advote foreducational and social reform in Canada.
Black people in Canada were still subject to racial prejudice, and stereotypes considered them licentious and violent. For this reason, Canada West passed anact of government which gave “Coloured People” the option to open their own schools. While segregated schools were officially sanctioned, Shadd ardently advocated the integration of the studentpopulation. Then, Shadd opened the first integrated school in Windsor. Shadd subsequently published a widely circulated page pamphlet in which she extolled the virtues of Canada. She wrote aboutAfrican-Americans in Canada as new Canadians with no place in America, and she juxtaposes the tyranny of America with the utopian possibilities of Canada West.
In addition, Shadd paints a positive portrait ofrelations among the races, and she writes in hyperbolic terms in order to attract settlers.
After the death of her husband, and disillusioned with the infighting among abolitionists, she left Canada...