Chi Onwurah has welcomed Newcastle City Council Historic Advisory Panel’s decision to accept the proposal for a blue plaque to commemorate social reformer and anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass’ time in Newcastle.
Chi has been campaigning for a plaque near Westgate Road in order to mark where Douglass stayed in the city when campaigning for the abolition of slavery since the issue was raised by Tim Peel, one of her constituents.
“Newcastle has a proud history of being diverse and welcoming, and Frederick Douglass’s story shows our rich heritage in the anti-slavery movement. In an extraordinarily generous gesture, the people of Newcastle upon Tyne paid Frederick Douglass’s owner to purchase his freedom in 1846. Douglass then used this freedom to campaign for the liberation of all slaves, as well as other forms of social justice.
“Our city is about to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s visit to accept an honorary degree from Newcastle University, the only UK University to do so in his lifetime, and another event which shows the importance of diversity in Newcastle’s history.
“Frederick Douglass’ story is one of many that must be celebrated to show the work of those who have gone before us. By understanding the work of our city’s previous campaigners, we can inspire others in the future. Thank you to the council for supporting the project – I hope it gives everyone in our great city the opportunity to reflect upon Newcastle’s role in fighting racism and inequality.”
Newcastle City Council will begin to examine the logistics of a plaque in the new year. It is expected to be completed in late 2017.
You can see coverage of her campaign here.