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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Mary Ann McCracken

Photo: ManfredHugh,CC By-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sculptor: Naomi (lead sculptor) and Ralf Sander

Materials: Statue: Bronze; plinth: limestone faced, reinforced concrete.

Dimensions: Statue: h. 210cm.; plinth: h. 130cm.

Unveiled: 8 March 2024

Mary Ann McCracken

Mary Ann McCracken (1770–1866) was born in Belfast into a liberal Presbyterian family, which supported the cause of an independent Ireland. Her brother Henry McCracken was hanged in 1798 for his part in the failed United Irishmen rebellion against British rule.

McCracken was a business woman who ran a muslin factory, and also a devoted social reformer, who championed the poor and campaigned for equal rights for women, petitioned for education, child welfare and prison reform. She was a staunch abolitionist, who refused to eat sugar because it was a product of the slave plantations. In her late eighties, McCracken was still handing out leaflets at Belfast docks about the evils of slavery.

This statue depicts McCracken handing out an abolitionist leaflet and wearing the famous Wedgwood anti-slavery brooch with the image of a shackled slave kneeling on the ground with the words ‘Am I not a man and brother’. The statue, together with that of Winifred Carney by the same sculptors, are not only the first non-royal women to receive a statue in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, but also, signal a move towards social inclusivity, being the first women supporting the republican cause to have statues there.

Location: Grounds of Belfast City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland.