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New historical marker honors the legacy of a prominent First State family

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney helped kick-off Black History month with the unveiling of a new Delaware historical marker in Wilmington.

Carney joined descendants of Abraham Doras Shadd to dedicate the marker honoring Shadd, a noted Wilmington abolitionist, and his family.

“Shining a light on Black history today is important, I would add maybe more important in understanding of ourselves and growing stronger as a nation as it has ever been before,” said Carney. “And that’s why it's essential that we take time and celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies of past generations, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that fester today.”

Abraham Doras Shadd
Palmer Scott (ext) USUW
Delaware Public Archives
Abraham Doras Shadd

Abraham Shadd was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, then moved Canada in 1850 and became one of that country’s first Black elected officials.

Four of Shadd’s 13 children became prominent in their own right, but perhaps the most well-known is his eldest daughter Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary was a teacher, journalist, lawyer, and activist in the abolition and women’s suffrage movements. She was also the first Black woman newspaper editor in North America.

Lora Englehart worked to induct Mary Ann Shadd Cary into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She reflected on the importance of this new historical marker.

“Today’s historical marker dedication along with the recent renaming of the Wilmington Post Office to the Mary Ann Shadd Cary Post Office rights a centuries old wrong and finally places the Shadd Family and their accomplishments on public view,” Englehart said.

The Abraham Shadd Family historic marker is located in Wilmington’s Spencer Plaza, close to where the Shadd family lived and conducted their work.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021