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London home of couple who escaped slavery in US gets blue plaque

blue plaque

London home of couple who escaped slavery in US gets blue plaque

The London home of slave abolitionists who fled to Britain from the US after escaping slavery in Georgia is to be commemorated in a blue plaque.

Ellen and William Craft are famed for carrying out one of the most ingenious documented escapes in the history of American slavery.

In December 1848, Ellen, the child of a mixed-race slave raped by her white owner, dressed up as a disabled white man and left Georgia, with William posing as an enslaved manservant accompanying his master north for medical treatment.

Stopping first in Philadelphia, then Massachusetts, they were forced to escape the country altogether after Congress passed the fugitive slave bill in 1850, forbidding inhabitants of the “free states” from sheltering formerly enslaved people.

Fearing abduction by the agents of their former enslavers, the Crafts then boarded a ship and made the four-day voyage to England.

They settled in Hammersmith, helping to organise the London Emancipation Society. In 1860, after travelling the UK arguing for freedom for black people and thrilling abolitionist lecture halls with the story of their escape, they published their autobiography, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.

A blue plaque commemorating the home in west London where they raised a family and campaigned for social justice has been placed on 26 Cambridge Grove, a mid-Victorian house.

The plaque was proposed by Dr Hannah-Rose Murray, a historian who works on transatlantic abolitionism.

Ellen and William Craft were courageous and heroic freedom fighters whose daring escape from US chattel slavery involved Ellen crossing racial, gender and class lines to perform as a white southern man,” Murray said.

“I’m so excited that English Heritage has built on previous work by historians, archivists and local activists to honour their presence in Hammersmith and the UK in general, and recognise the Crafts’ incredible bravery and impact on transatlantic society.”

English Heritage said only about 4% of the more than 975 blue plaques across London were dedicated to black and Asian people, but that it was working hard to rectify the lack of representation. Over the past two years, a quarter of English Heritage plaques have commemorated black or Asian figures.

“Ellen and William Craft’s story is incredibly powerful,” said Anna Eavis, curatorial director at English Heritage. “They are an important part of the anti-slavery movement and we are delighted to remember them with this plaque.”

After the US civil war and the legal emancipation of black people across the country, the Crafts returned, arriving in Boston in 1869 with three children. In 1873, they set up the Woodville Cooperative Farm School in Bryan County, Georgia, for the children of emancipated slaves.

Ellen is believed to have died in Georgia in 1891. William died in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1900, and was buried in the city.

Entertainment

Junior Pope’s corpse deposited at morgue not buried at the bank of Anam River – Police

The Anambra State Police Command says the remains of Nollywood star, John Paul Odonwodo, popularly called Junior Pope, were not among those buried by the bank of the Anam River.

The Command’s spokesman, SP Ikenga Tochukwu, made the clarification on Sunday, stating that only three of the deceased families agreed that the victims be buried by the riverside.

He noted that after the burial of the three, one of the families came back to exhume the remains of their daughter for a befitting burial in her country home.

Ikenga added that the corpse of Junior Pope was deposited at a morgue.

“The Command, on an inquiry about the unconfirmed information that the recovered bodies including Junior Pope were buried by the Riverside where the boat accident happened, discovered that three of the deceased families accepted the victims should be buried beside the river.

“But later, the family of one of the victims decided to exhume the body to be given a proper burial in her state while the other two were still buried there.

“Also, Junior Pope and one other are still in the morgue and await the deceased families’ funeral arrangements,” he said.

The PPRO further stated that the Command is still investigating the unfortunate incident.

He said, “The producer of the movie and the two boat drivers’ statements have been obtained, and other necessary actions/moves already emplaced by the operatives as directed by the Commissioner of Police to determine the criminal liability of any person, if any, in the mishap.”

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Gov Eno visits family of late makeup artist, directs renovation of family house

…offers automatic employment to elder sister

…promises assistance to the undergraduate sisters

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno has visited the family of late Nollywood make- up artist. Abigail Edith Frederick, in Ikot Udoma, Eket Local Government Area, where he consoled the bereaved family.

Showing deep emotions, Governor Eno, sat with the grieving family members and told them he feels their pain.

“This is deeply unfortunate, a young girl, 24 years old, who, finished her Youth Service just last year, and decided to pursue her passion.

“This is a reflection of our Arise spirit. It shows that our young people are willing to go out there, not begging, not waiting for handouts, but to pursue their passions.

“It is sad and unfortunate that her life ended the way it did.

“Once I was fully briefed, I decided to come here personally with the full complement of Government to console and encourage the family.

“You are not just the Governor when people are celebrating. In times and moments like this, you become the Mourner- in-Chief and give them hope.

“I trust the Holy Spirit will perfect the hope in their lives.

“Coming here means we care. You know Akwa Ibomites are like Americans. We don’t leave each other behind. Government will be with the family and support them.”

The Governor thereafter gave an automatic employment in the State Civil Service to the surviving elder sister of the deceased, and directed the SSA on Humanitarian Services, Umo Ekpo to renovate the family house and bring it to modern standards.

The Governor also assured of Government’s assistance to the two sisters of the bereaved who are undergraduates at the University of Uyo, said to be sponsored by the late Nollywood make- up artist.

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Jnr. Pope’s death; ‘heart wrenching and unfortunate- Gov Mbah’,

Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, mourning Nollywood actor, Obumneme Odonwodo, a.k.a Jnr. Pope, says Enugu State has lost one of its talented sons.

The governor said Jnr. Pope’s death came at a time Enugu State was working hard to develop the creative potential of its youths for self reliance.

Mbah stated this in a statement issued by the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka, on Saturday night in Enugu.

Pope, who hailed from Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti Council Area of the State, alongside three of his colleagues, lost their lives in the tragic boat accident on River Niger while returning from a movie location on Wednesday.

The governor, who described Jnr. Pope’s death as ‘heart wrenching and unfortunate’, said he received the news with sadness.

He said, “Indeed, the death of Jnr. Pope
came at a time Enugu State was working so hard to develop the creative potential of its youths for self reliance, job creation and export of their talents outside the shores of Nigeria”.

Mbah expressed deep regrets that such talented, young Nigerians could lose their lives in such unfortunate circumstance.

The governor commiserated with the bereaved families, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and the entire Nollywood industry on the loss of their members in an ill-fated boat accident.

He promised that the state shall work in concert with the family to ensure a befitting burial for the late movie icon.

The governor stressed that Enugu State Government had opened a condolence register for Nigerians to pay their tributes to the fallen Nollywood Star.

Mbah explained that the condolence register would be opened at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communication, State Secretariat, Enugu, on April 15.

“Those who may not get to the office of the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communication, may use the following email address condolencejuniorpope@gmail.com to register their condolences,” he said.

 

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