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Jessie Donaldson blue plaque

Dedicated to the anti slavery campaigner, activist and teacher

Jessie Donaldson blue plaque
Location: Wall of the Dynevor Building, UWTSD

Swansea woman Jessie Donaldson bravely fought slavery in America around 170 years ago. Jessie travelled to Ohio in the 1850s to operate a safe house, risking fines and prison sentences for offering shelter and protection for slaves as they tried to escape from the southern states to the north of America.

The blue plaque nomination was submitted to the Council by Swansea cultural historian Professor Jen Wilson, founder of Jazz Heritage Wales which is based in the city's Dylan Thomas Centre as part of UWTSD.

Professor Wilson, who has researched Jessie's life over many years, said: "Jessie Donaldson, at the age of 57, left Swansea to embark on an extraordinary life of international politics on a grand scale, her house on the banks of the Ohio river was the third of the Welsh safe houses for runaway slaves. Jessie's friends in the anti-slavery movement were Frederick Douglass, a freed slave, fugitive slaves Ellen and William Craft, the fiery campaigner William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Throughout the American Civil War Jessie worked alongside her friends, enabling fugitives from the plantations across the river to seek freedom. Jessie returned home to Swansea in 1866."

The blue plaque was unveiled in her home city on June 19th (also referred to as Juneteenth) - the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

 

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Last modified on 29 March 2022