Mary Ann Shadd Cary (MASC) Symposium

“Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Civil Rights Pioneer
from Delaware to Canada West”

April 25th • Delaware Historical Society
Free and open to the public

Location: Delaware History Museum and the Mitchell Center, 504 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801


As we approach the 200th anniversary of Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s birth in 2023, the Colored Conventions Project is partnering with leading scholars and archivists of Black Canadian history and the Sharing Our Legacy Theater to host a two-day exploration of her life and legacy. This pioneering educator was the first Black woman to edit a newspaper in North America and the first to attend law school. The symposium will include two Saturday sessions, a community tea honoring Shadd’s cultural and biological descendants and a full-length performance “Mary Ann Shadd Cary – Her Life and Legacy” at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, DE. Sunday will feature a tour of the exhibit “Journey to Freedom” and a community planning meeting for those who want to honor her as we approach the 200th anniversary of her birth. Please join us as we explore the legacy of this pioneering Delawarian who broke barriers for Black Canadians and in DC after the Civil War. RSVP to sign up for Saturday and Sunday’s events!

Panel 1: Scholars Across Borders on MASC’s Border Crossings (9:00 -11 AM)


Adenike M. Davidson, Chair of English & Foreign Languages at Delaware State University and the author of The Black Nation Novel: Imagining Homeplaces in Early African American Literature (2008).

Kristin Moriah is an Assistant Professor of English at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. As a Colored Convention Project’s satellite partner, she is a symposium co-organizer and will edit a collection on Mary Ann Shadd Cary. 

Brandi Locke, Doctoral Student at University of Delaware, is interested in African American women writers of novels, pamphlets and newspapers in the Reconstruction Era.

Jim Casey is Postdoctoral Research Associate of the Center for Digital Humanities and co-founder of the award-winning Colored Conventions Project


Nina Reid-Maroney is Associate Professor of History at Huron. Her teaching and research interests centre on American intellectual and religious history, women’s history, and antislavery movements in the Atlantic world. 

Panel 2: Engaging the Public, Engaging the People (1-2:30 PM)


Gabrielle Foreman is the Founding Faculty Director of the Colored Conventions Project. She is formerly the Ned B. Allen Professor of English at University of Delaware and holds an endowed professorship in Liberal Arts at PSU where she will soon co-direct the Center for Black Digital Research (#DigBLK). 

Emilie-Andree Jabouin is a graduate student at Ryerson University. Her interests include Black Canadian and immigration history, archives and memory, print and visual media analysis, theatrical performance, and social and liberation movements.

Bryan Prince is an author and historian actively involved with the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum. Bryan is the author of My Brother’s Keeper, A Shadow of a Household, One More River to Cross, and I Came as a Stranger. He is a Shadd family descendant. 

Natasha Henry is an educator, historian and curriculum consultant. She is the author of Talking About Freedom: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (2012) and Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (2010).

Lynette Overby is Professor of Theatre at University of Delaware and Artistic Director of SOL. She serves as co-editor of Dance: Current Selected Research and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Dance Education Organization. 

Irene Moore Davis teaches Underground Railroad history at St. Clair College in Ontario, Canada, and serves as President of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society. She is also a Shadd family descendant. 


Stephanie Lampkin, Director, Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware History Museum.


This event was made possible with the support of:

The Colored Conventions Project appreciates the support of:

The Colored Conventions Project was launched and cultivated at the University of Delaware from 2012-2020.