Wednesday 23 November | 13.15–15.15
If you were living in Leeds in the 1840s and 1850s you would undoubtedly have heard of anti-slavery speeches made to huge local audiences by African American activists and their supporters. The University of Leeds will offer guided walk of sites associated with the entwined histories of African self-emancipation and anti-slavery activism in 19th-century Leeds, public discussion of the significance of the archives of anti-slavery activism, and a chance to visit the Leeds Library, which presents an exhibition on Quaker businessman Wilson Armistead and a play tracing the extraordinary escape of Ellen and William Craft from enslavement in Georgia.
There is also a public debate, led by Professor Bridget Bennett (University of Leeds), at The Leeds Library on the significance of the archives of anti-slavery activism after the walk. For details and booking see here.
In the evening there is a play ‘Meet the Crafts‘ tracing the extraordinary escape, from enslavement in Georgia, of Ellen and William Craft. The couple were each listed in the 1851 census as a ‘fugitive slave’ when they were hosted by Armistead in his home in Leeds. They went on to publish an acclaimed book, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom (1860). The performance takes place in The Leeds Library. It will be preceded at 18.30 by a wine reception. For details and booking see here.
Between 17 and 25 November The Leeds Library also hosts an exhibition on the Quaker businessman Wilson Armistead (1819-1868), himself a onetime library member.