They were enriched by slavery. On Friday, January 22, London announced the unveiling of two statues in its historic heart: William Beckford (1709-1770), former mayor of London, who built his fortune on sugar plantations in Jamaica, and Coss (1661-1718), vice president of the African Royal Company, who was particularly active in the slave trade. .
“The slave trade is a stain on our history; putting those who benefited from it on a pedestal is not up to the level of a modern and multifaceted city.”, Explained Carolyn Audi, who leads the city’s task force against racism. The committee recommended the removal of the statues, which were approved by a referendum on Thursday. London plans to replace them with other works of art and commission a new monument to the slave trade.
Towards local advice
The move comes just days after the British government announced new rules for granting permission and local advice before removing a statue or historical monument. “In exceptional circumstances”. “We should not try to rewrite or censor our past.”, Justified by Robert Genrich, Minister for Communities. “Raised for generations (…) Cannot be removed at will. “
In the wake of the protests sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd, who was killed by a white policeman, the UK has questioned its colonial past and its identities. Updated the Black Lives Matter movement last year. In June, protesters He unwrapped the statue Edward Colston, a slave trader in Bristol (southwest England). Before Westminster, the monument to Winston Churchill was marked with an inscription “Racism”.