Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Highlighting the Slavery Connection

Scotland's first black professor, Sir Geoff Palmer, professor emeritus at Heriot-Watt University, has again called for plaques on Scotland's statues to give a truthful account of their links to the slave trade and said the move could help educate and change attitudes against racism.
Sir Geoff has previously argued that Edinburgh's economic transformation at the end of the 18th Century was a result of slave ownership and that Scotland had a higher share of the trade by population than England or most European countries. By 1817, 32% of Jamaican plantations were owned by Scots.
Numerous statues and street names are still in place across Scotland honouring figures who perpetuated such atrocities.

Palmer previously called for a plaque under Edinburgh's Melville Monument, which honours slave owner Henry Dundas, one of the country's most influential politicians in the 18th and 19th centuries who played a prominent role in delaying the abolition of slavery - forcing about 630,000 slaves to wait more than a decade for their freedom.
Sir Geoff told BBC Scotland that adding clarifications to these monuments, rather than pulling them down altogether, would avoid erasing history.
"I don't want statues to be taken down. My view is you remove the evidence, you remove the deed."

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