The Colored Conventions Project announced the launch of a new online exhibit, “Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Herstory in the Colored Conventions Movement.” The exhibit “examines the work of activist, educator, and newspaper editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary within the Colored Conventions Movement. Drawing on various scholarship on Shadd Cary, this exhibit also centers her work as an organizer and writer beyond the movement. It is a timely celebration of Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s 200th birthday, as we commemorate her in this year’s Douglass Day. Honoring Shadd Cary’s legacy, this exhibits shows how she shaped generations of women leaders.”
From the exhibit’s introduction:
Mary Ann Shadd Cary is remembered for her contributions to nineteenth-century Black activism, journalism, and editorship through the Canada-based newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. This exhibit examines her life’s work in political organizing by closely studying her participation in the Colored Conventions movement, as well as the ways she influenced the movement from its margins as an agent in other movements. Over the course of her life she wrote for several Black newspapers, delivered public addresses and lectures, and fundraised for various initiatives. In so doing, she advanced the causes of racial uplift, Black nationalism, emigration to Canada, and Black women’s political and economic empowerment. Her savvy outspokenness ensured she could leverage the Colored Conventions wide support and influence, without sacrificing her commitment to issues that were unpopular with convention leaders. This exhibit is made possible by the extensive archival research and analysis of Shadd Cary’s biographer Jane Rhodes, the collection of conventions records and research by the Colored Conventions Project, and growing scholarship on Black women’s work in the conventions from our project’s partners and contributors to our edited volume.
By using Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s activism as a lens, this exhibit redefines the Colored Conventions movement in order to center those whom Shadd Cary represented: Black Canadian emigrationists, Black women, and marginalized voices in the press. Black Canadian scholars Rinaldo Walcott and Kristin Moriah remind us that these identities and communities were flexible and mobile, calling into question the borders and social division that tried to define Shadd Cary and her allies. This exhibit moves beyond the convention minutes and proceedings to examine her impact on the movement through broader terms.
Shadd Cary used the Black press and networks to engage and influence the agendas and outcomes of the conventions on behalf of her community. Writing herself into public debates and working in organizations and fields crucial to Black political organizing, she shaped how various Black communities were represented, where they moved, what financial support they received, and how they defined and pursued freedom and racial uplift. By tracing the ways the Colored Conventions weave in and out of most of Shadd Cary’s life (and vice versa) we can rectify the histories and places where she has been forgotten. This exhibit also strives to unite the pieces of her legacy, separated by national borders, generational divides, professional silos, and disparate communities of her familial and cultural descendants, to connect to one another as we embrace our shared inheritance of the legacy Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s Black freedom struggles.
The exhibit was created by the main curator, Brandi Locke, PhD Candidate in English and Committee Chair. Further Acknowledgements to the CCP Exhibits team for creating visualizations, editing, proofreading and revising this exhibit: Samantha Q. de Vera, Nneka Dennie, Rachel Fernandes, Lauren Cooper, Wendyliz Martinez, Eden Mekonen, Courtney Murray, Gabrielle Sutherland, and Kaitlyn Tannis.
Source: Auto Draft
This post was produced through a cooperation between Kayla Abner, Tierney Gleason, Corinne Guimont, Lorena O'English, Soni Wadhwa (Editors-at-large for the week), Claudia Berger and Pamella Lach (Editors for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, Linsey Ford, Hillary Richardson, John Russell, and Rachel Starry (dh+lib Review Editors).