MARY ANN SHADD CARY’S HERSTORY IN THE COLORED CONVENTIONS
One of the most rewarding results of tracing Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s life through the Convention Movement is our new sense of the richness and importance of Black political organizing in Canada. Too often we implicitly frame Black activism in the nineteenth century as an exclusively American phenomenon, and this too goes for existing work on the Colored Conventions. However, Shadd Cary and many of her peers saw the future of Black nationalist politics and identities as being grown in Canadian soil. Others envisioned Canada as a place from which to orchestrate and execute important political movements and even violent uprisings in America, from a distance. Rinaldo Walcott describes Shadd Cary as “a figure of the in-between,” whose presence between nations, intersecting identities, and movements, reveals the permeability of borders and that made possible her claims to a Black diasporic belonging unencumbered by the racial and spacial anxieties of nationalist narratives. Though Shadd Cary’s engagement with Canadian organizing we can make the case that the Colored Conventions was in fact a diasporic movement, and emigration a centrally important mission.
View this StoryMap to learn more about Colored Conventions across Canada. Be sure to scroll down each page to read details about each convention and location.
Rhodes, Jane. Mary Ann Shadd Cary: the Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998.
Convention of the Colored Population (1847 : Drummondville, QC), “Report of the Convention of the Colored Population, Held at Drummondville, Aug, 1847.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed December 10, 2020, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/451.
North American Convention (1851 : Toronto, Canada), “Proceedings for the North American Convention held in Toronto, Canada, 1851,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed December 10, 2020, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/324.
General Convention for the Improvement of the Colored Inhabitants of Canada (1853 : Amherstburgh), “Minutes and proceedings of the General Convention for the Improvement of the Colored Inhabitants of Canada, held by adjournments in Amhrstburgh [sic], C.W., June 16th and 17th, 1853.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed December 10, 2020, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/619.
Provincial Freeman. “Address To the Colored People of Canada.” Sept 8, 1855. From Accessible Archives. https://www-accessible-com.udel.idm.oclc.org/accessible/docButton?AAWhat=builtPage&AAWhere=PROVINCIALFREEMAN.18550908_001.image&AABeanName=toc3&AANextPage=/printBrowseBuiltImagePage.jsp (accessed Dec 10, 2020).
The Convention (1858 : Chatham, ON), “Minutes from the Harper’s Ferry Convention at Chatham, Canada West, 1858, p. 10,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed December 10, 2020, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/427.
Walcott, Rinaldo. “Who is She And What is She to You? Mary Ann Shadd Cary and the (Im)possibility of Black/ Canadian Studies.” Atlantis 24, no. 2 (2000): 137-146.