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Black Lives Matter: Islington ‘does not have any statues or memorials celebrating the slave trade’

PUBLISHED: 16:10 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 13 June 2020

Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Islington Council says the borough “does not have any statues or memorials celebrating the slave trade”.

In the wake of recent Black Lives Matters protests and the removal of “slaver” statues in Bristol and Tower Hamlets, the town hall has investigated the history and origins of all statues, artwork and heritage plaques in Islington.

Initial searches, led by the council’s history service, suggest there are no memorials to slavers or the slave trade in Islington.

Islington’s business chief, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade. It is wrong that this is celebrated through the existence of memorials.

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“I am pleased to confirm that we believe our borough does not have any statues or memorials celebrating the slave trade, however systemic racism and injustice is much more than statues and plaques.

“It plagues local people and communities and we are committed to making Islington a fairer place for all, listening to, learning from and acting on the concerns of all communities, including residents from our black and minority ethnic communities, to tackle the inequalities and injustice they face every day.”

Thousands of people have taken to the street demanding justice on both sides of the Atlantic in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Protestors toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on June 7, before dragging it to the harbour and pushing it into the water.

Islington Museum and Islington Local History Centre have presented many exhibitions to promote and commemorate radical, diverse, working class heritage.

Recent exhibitions and related activities have focused on Islington’s People’s Rights, The Anti-Apartheid Movement, Holloway Prison, the Spanish Civil War and Islington, Journey to Justice human rights movement, LGBTQ+ exhibitions and the Chinese Community in Islington. LGBT History Month and Black History Month each year sees local talks, walks and activities.


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