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Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Essential Writings of a Nineteenth-Century Black Radical Feminist

From the publisher:

This volume compiles writings by and about Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a 19th-century Black radical feminist, an abolitionist, a suffragist and one of the first Black woman newspaper editors in North America.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary includes letters, newspaper articles, organizational records and never-before-published handwritten notes and essay drafts that illustrate how Shadd Cary participated in major Africana philosophical debates during the 19th century. Racial uplift, women’s rights and emigration first emerged as central themes in Shadd Cary’s intellectual thought during the 1850s as she grappled with slavery’s effects on African Americans. She was frequently mired in controversy during this era, both for her ideas and for outspokenness as a woman. Shadd Cary’s support for emigration dissipated in the 1860s. During and after Reconstruction, she advocated for citizenship and economic self-determination for Black people in general and Black women in particular. By the 1880s, Shadd Cary’s writings and activism prioritized Black women’s needs.

Shadd Cary shaped Black radical theory and praxis throughout her lifetime. She is one of many 19th-century Black women theorists whose intellectual contributions are often overlooked. By interrogating Shadd Cary’s Black radical ethic of care, this book reveals the philosophies that have shaped Black women’s centuries-long struggle for rights and freedom.

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