Activists in Glasgow are renaming streets that were named after slave traders

Sanjana Varghese
Monday 08 June 2020 09:00
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(Catriona Stewart / Twitter)

In Glasgow, the city council has decided to confront the history of racism in the UK in one specific way first.

Many of the cities’ streets are named after slave owners and tobacco merchants, such as Cochrane Street, which was named after Andrew Cochrane, a tobacco lord from the 1800s.

An anti-racist group of activists have placed new plaques alongside the street names, with the names of black activists, people who were killed by police officers and former slaves who had passed away.

One of the streets is called Rosa Parks street, while another is called George Floyd Street. Since September 2019, a petition has been circulating to rename these streets in order to draw attention to black Scottish activists as well as victims of police violence.

This petition has recently picked up thousands of new signatures as a result of global protests around police brutality and systemic racism, sparked by the death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.

Susan Aitken, who is the leader of Glasgow City Council, also put out a statement on Twitter.

She suggested that there may be another way of honouring those who have died as a result of state and police violence, without necessarily erasing the names of the streets themselves.

Glasgow Live compiled a list of every street in Glasgow that’s connected to the slave trade.

Ciara Spratt, who set up the petition back in September, told Glasgow Live: "I remember learning about some of the slave trade history of Glasgow in primary school but thought that what we were told wasn’t really common knowledge.”

“It was weird cause everyone knew the street names but not necessarily who those people were or what they did. Of course they were integral in Glasgow’s growth as a city but it seemed weird to me that they were set on a pedestal like that even now.”

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