WALK. LEARN. SIGN. ACT.
Take the walk and learn about those who took a stand in the past.
Sign the pledge and discover how you can take a stand today.
1 Walter E Washington Home located at the entrance to Chadakoin Park on Washington St
Walter Edward Washington was born in Dawson, Georgia on April 15, 1915, the great-grandson of a slave. He grew up in Jamestown in the Washington Street neighborhood and graduated from Jamestown High School in 1933. Washington graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with majors in public administration and sociology then completed a law degree at Howard in 1948 while beginning a career in local government .
He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the post of Mayor/Commissioner of Washington, D.C. in November 1967. In 1974, District of Columbia residents, having been granted voting rights, and electing their first government in over 100 years, elected Walter Washington as their Mayor. He was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall on January 2, 1975.
Walter Edward Washington died on October 27, 2003 at Howard University Hospital, aged 88, following a long career in the legal field after his retirement from public office. He maintained close ties with friends in the Jamestown area throughout his life.
ACT: Register to Vote at https://vote.gov
2 Dow Park – Underground Railroad Statue located at Sixth and Washington St.
Black people had agency and played a firsthand role in their fight for freedom. Often when we think of the Underground Railroad, we picture a series of houses owned by well-intentioned white abolitionists who housed runaway enslaved people in secret rooms, attics, or underground tunnels. However, it was actually mostly run by free Northern Black people. In fact, Black people were central to the development and operation of the Underground Railroad, with their fugitive status creating the Underground Railroad and not the other way around. Therefore, despite the myth that they lacked agency or played a futile role in obtaining their freedom, Black people were vital in the efforts to resist the system of slavery, escape to freedom, or secure their freedom through emancipation.
…we can collectively decide that replacing the statue demonstrates that this community cares about and understands the importance of highlighting and preserving the rich Black history of our local community. We value and support representation in Jamestown and the surrounding areas.
ACT: Donate to help build a new statue at https://www.ywcajamestown.com/statuefund
3 Underground Railroad 1831 – Home of Catherine Harris located at 12 West Seventh Street
Catherine Dickes Harris was one of the few African-Americans in the United States to operate a station in the Underground Railroad. Mrs. Harris, a free-born Black, risked a heavy fine, imprisonment, and her life to help an enslaved people. Born June 10, 1809 on a farm near Meadville, Pennsylvania, she came to Jamestown with her infant daughter in 1831. She built a small house at what became 12 West Seventh Street. Although only sixteen feet in length, it is maintained that as many as seventeen runaway slaves could be harbored at one time.
Mrs. Harris was well-known in the community as a midwife and herbal healer. She worked as a domestic to support herself and her daughter.
In 1881, seventeen years after the close of the Civil War, the small house served as the first site of the Blackwell Chapel which she founded. The current church structure was erected at 610 Spring Street in 1899. Mrs. Harris died February 12, 1907 and is buried in Lake View Cemetery.
ACT: Post a picture of your group and invite others to Walk. Learn. Sign. Act. in the YWCA Stand Against Racism
4 AME Zion Church – Blackwell Chapel located at 610 Spring Street
ACT: Make a plan to celebrate Juneteenth and bring your family and friends hosted at Chadakoin Park June 17-19
5 Underground Railroad 1850s – home of Silas Sherman located at southeast corner of East Fourth & Pine Streets
In Jamestown, the affairs of the Underground Railroad were directed by Silas Shearman, known as an ardent Abolitionist. The Jamestown station was the old Shearman home which stood at the southeast corner of Pine and Fourth Streets until 1910 when it was demolished.
Frank E. Shearman Sr., a grandson of Silas Shearman, remembered hearing his
grandfather tell his experiences as the agent, or conductor, of how it was not uncommon for him to come down in the morning and find his kitchen filled with escaping slaves. They had been brought to Jamestown during the night or directed to his home from the last station. Mr. Shearman fed the group of hungry passengers and hid them during the day in the hay in his barn on Stillers Alley. He then collected sufficient funds from the railroad supporters, if money was needed, and arranged transportation or guidance to the next station, which was often the village of Ellington.
ACT: Sign the Stand Against Racism pledge at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeuLPaOTLfGwiPF52H1mtLO8MQFeBOev-Lt_5yrpFZtwS2-5w/viewform
6 Jamestown City Hall 200 East Third Street
ACT: Learn More about Fair Housing
7 YWCA Jamestown located 401 N. Main St.
At the YWCA, our mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. Every day we get up and do the work of justice nationally, in more than one thousand communities nationwide, and right here in Chautauqua County. We provide essential services and advocate for girls, women, and people of color.
Since justice looks different in every community, our work does too. In Chautauqua County, YWCA Jamestown is working to provide all of our programs with a race equity lens and developing programs to promote social justice education and understanding of the importance of equity and inclusion. We continue to develop and grow our Social Justice and Race Equity Program to meet the needs of the community and uplift women, girls and people of color in our community.
In addition to our social justice work, we offer housing to women and children seeking a safe place to live. We provide childcare for working parents. We offer mentoring to women building their careers, sexual education classes for high school students and so much more. We’re also on the front lines advocating for equal pay, immigration reform, voting rights, and many other issues that impact women and girls.
We don’t do it alone. Our power comes from the women and girls we serve, and it comes from our bold, passionate donors and volunteers who are equally committed to the work of justice. When you support the YWCA Jamestown you amplify our ability to serve our community, and you help us fulfill our mission to change the power structures that determine the future. With your support, we will get up and do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.
Join our Social Justice Committee to learn about opportunities to advocate for policy changes both locally and nationally. Participate in educational opportunities to learn and understand Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and further your comfort with talking about racial equity. Help the committee promote justice for all at local rallies and gatherings including Women's March, Pride Fest, Stand Against Racism, and more
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