few entrepreneurs have faced the
challenges and hardships encountered by Maryann shad one of Canada’s early
business women born as a free person in Wilmington Delaware in 1823 Maryann
learned about the importance of freedom at an early age in 1850 the United
States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act a new law that put her
family’s freedom and lives in danger so Mary Ann’s family did what so many
others did at the time they pulled up stakes and moved to Canada she moved to
Windsor across the border from Detroit where her entrepreneurial spirit
flourished Maryann founded an integrated school for the area’s growing fugitive
slave population where students of all races could study and learn together
then in 1853 Maryann started an anti-slavery newspaper called the
provincial Freeman making her the first black woman in North America to
establish and edit a newspaper she wrote about the importance of black
self-reliance and integration into Canadian society she advised on the need
for new black citizens to insist on fair treatment and equal rights and she
encouraged education and hard work as tools for improvement and advancement
the provincial Freeman also promoted women’s rights and often included the
lectures of feminists of the day ironically despite her support for
women’s rights initially Maryanne did not place her own name as editor on the
masthead of the newspaper she found it bowing to the rigid gender codes of the
19th century she listed Samuel Ringgold Ward a prominent black abolitionist at
the time as the publisher and editor of the provincial Freeman Mary Ann
published her unique and progressive newspaper for seven years establishing a
circulation not only in Canada but also in northern cities across the United
States in doing so she helped change the racist attitudes that prevailed at that
time and helped reshape the nation she left and the nation she embraced that’s
why in 1994 the Canadian government designated Mary and shad a person of
national historic significance by pushing the boundaries and limitations
normally associated with her race and gender Mary Ann blazed a trail not only
for black people but also for generations of women that would follow you you

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