Mary Ann Cary

Mary Ann Cary

Mary Ann Cary was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on 9th October, 1823. The oldest of 13 children she moved to Canada after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1851.

While based in Toronto she published and edited the anti-slavery newspaper, Provincial Freeman. The newspaper included several articles illustrating the role played by women in the emancipation struggle and argued against all forms of gender discrimination.

In 1869, at the age of forty-six, became the first woman student at the Howard University Law School. While studying for her degree Cary worked with Frederick Douglass on the National Era newspaper.

Cary's articles often dealt with women's suffrage and in 1871 she and sixty-three other women attempted to register to vote in Washington. Cary was also the founder of the Colored Women's Progressive Franchise Association in 1880.

In her final years Cary campaigned for training programmes for equal rights, an increase in the number of occupations open to women, co-operative stores and local labour bureaus.

Mary Ann Cary died on 5th June, 1893.