Wilmington Post Office renamed in honor of anti-slavery activist | Delaware First Media
Delaware Public Media

Wilmington Post Office renamed in honor of anti-slavery activist

Aug 31, 2021

Wilmington’s downtown post office is renamed to honor a prominent anti-slavery activist — and a Delaware native.


Mary Ann Shadd Cary played many roles, including a journalist, teacher and lawyer — but her role as an anti-slavery activist was prominent throughout her life amidst the Civil War.


Now, Delaware’s Congressional delegation has honored the Wilmington born activist by renaming the Wilmington Post office in her honor.


Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester says Shadd Cary represents the American dream for many.


“She channeled everything into freedom and liberty for all of us,” she said. “We’re standing here today because of her, and for me, I think about the fact that hers is a story of education, abolition, service to others and tenacity.”


Shadd Cary’s family was deeply involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape the south. Cary would go on to become the second Black woman in the United States to earn a law degree, which she used to advocate for civil rights until her death in 1893.


Shadd Cary's ancestor, Janmichael Shadd Graine also spoke at the event.
Credit Roman Battaglia / Delaware Public Media

 Sen. Chris Coons says this dedication is a reminder that the civil rights struggle Shadd Cary took part in still rages on today.


“Who we lift up as heroes and heroines, who we recognize and acknowledge is a key part of keeping us engaged, informed and aware about landmark leaders in our history — and the ark of our trajectory forward,” said Coons.


Blunt Rochester says this was such an important dedication because there are no landmarks in her honor in her home state. She says this dedication helps to inspire future leaders to continue her struggle.


Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.