On this day, 8 July 1770, Mary Ann McCracken was born to Captain John McCracken and his wife, Anne McCracken, née Joy.
Mary Ann McCracken would go on to led one of the most remarkable lives in the history of Belfast. She was an abolitionist, social reformer and activist who fought for the rights of women and championed Belfast’s poor throughout a long life that encompassed the most turbulent years of Irish history.
A key figure in the Poor House Ladies Committee, where she helped educate and secure apprenticeships for hundreds of children; she was a teacher at the Lancastrian School for decades and later served as President of the Ladies Industrial School.
Mary Ann as a life-long abolitionist, founded the Belfast Women’s Anti-Slavery League and even in her late eighties, she could still be found on the docks, handing out anti-slavery leaflets to emigrants embarking for the slave-owning United States.
Tonight at 7pm, on the anniversary of her birth, we are holding a special free event ‘A Tale of Two Women: Mary Ann McCracken & Baroness May Blood’ to mark the occasion as part of #MaryAnn250. Spaces are still available via our website.
Belfast Charitable Society launched the Mary Ann McCracken in January 2021 to not only increase awareness of Mary Ann’s life and legacy, but to explore her relevance in the 21st century.