Black couple’s daring escape from scarred slavery in London

LONDON (AP) – A black couple who escaped slavery in the US state of Georgia and fled to Britain to campaign for abolition have been honored with a historic plaque on their home in London.

English Heritage on Tuesday marked the achievements of Ellen and William Craft with a blue plaque outside the two-story brick townhouse in the Hammersmith district of west London from which they campaigned for the end of slavery.

The couple escaped slavery in 1848 when Ellen, the fair-skinned daughter of a black woman raped by her slave owner, dressed up as a disabled white man traveling north for medical treatment. William accompanied him, posing as his servant.

After their former slavers sent bounty hunters to capture the Crafts, the couple left their home in Boston and fled to Britain. Once abroad, the couple lectured extensively and helped found the London Emancipation Society, which campaigned for the abolition of slavery.

“Ellen and William Craft were courageous and heroic freedom fighters whose daring escape from American movable slavery involved Ellen crossing racial, gender and class lines to play the role of a southern white man.” Hannah-Rose Murray, the University of Edinburgh historian who nominated the plaque, said in a statement. “Their story inspired audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and when the Crafts reached Britain they relentlessly waged their campaigns against slavery, racism, white supremacy and the Confederate cause.”

After the Civil War that ended slavery in the United States, the Crafts returned home in 1869. They then established a farm school in Bryan County, Georgia, to teach and employ newly slaves. released.

English Heritage and its predecessors have installed over 975 blue plaques across London to honor the achievements of notable people who have lived in the capital at some point in their lives.

Mary Seacole, the Jamaican-born nurse who cared for British soldiers during the Crimean War, and Jimi Hendrix, the icon of American rock music, are among the black artists, statesmen and scientists honored by the program .

However, only 4% of the most plaques honor Blacks and Asians. English Heritage said it is working to make the program more representative of the city’s population.

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