THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Ellen and William Craft, African-American freedom fighters who made a daring escape from enslavement in Georgia, USA, and fled to Britain in the mid-19th century, have today been commemorated with an English Heritage London blue plaque. The plaque marks 26 Cambridge Grove, a mid-Victorian house in Hammersmith where the Crafts settled and raised their family, using their home as a base to campaign for abolition, radical reform, and social justice.
Historian Dr Hannah-Rose Murray, who proposed the plaque to the Crafts, said: "Ellen and William Craft were courageous and heroic freedom fighters whose daring escape from U.S. chattel slavery involved Ellen crossing racial, gender and class lines to perform as a white southern man. If caught, they would have been incarcerated, tortured and almost certainly sold away from each other. Their story inspired audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and when the Crafts reached Britain, they were relentless in their campaigns against slavery, racism, white supremacy, and the Confederate cause during the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). 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."
Anna Eavis, Curatorial Director at English Heritage, commented: "Ellen and William Craft’s story is incredibly powerful. Their determination to escape from enslavement in the most perilous circumstances, and then to campaign for abolition and win over hearts and minds here in the UK is astonishing. They lived in Hammersmith during the 1860s, and toured the country lecturing against slavery. They are an important part of the anti-slavery movement and we are delighted to remember them with this plaque."
To read The American's article about Ellen and William Craft, click here to buy a copy of the March-April 2021 issue of the magazine.