London city mayor Sadig Khan decided to honor the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. Overall, this is the first memorial of this kind. The mayor also spoke about the possibility of public availability until summer 2026. The city dedicated $600,000 to the construction of the memorial. The city ahead of Saturday’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
London to Acknowledge Its Part in the Trade
The city will erect a memorial at West India Quay in London Docklands. This part of London has a historic connection to the trade. This process is important to acknowledge the city’s impact on the black population. “The trade impacted generations of Black communities in London, across Britain and around the world”, Khan noted in a statement on Friday.
Also, the U.K. capital had a key role in the trade. There are various monuments to this historical moment. For example, some of them are celebrating its abolition. But, some of them are expressing its great power. For example, in 2020 the authorities removed Robert Milligan’s statue. He was a slave owner and trader. Now it is part of the Museum of London’s collection.
The Khan-created Commission for Diversity in the Public Domain will begin creating the memorial’s creative brief this summer. Also, it is important to say that artists will have to go through an open competition to get this task. Khan also promised to work more deeply on education about the times of slavery and all the victims.
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Dark History – London’s History
The mayor says this memorial is the first of its kind. The city does not have such monuments that will show respect for the millions of victims of this violent practice. “It is vital that our public spaces reflect the heritage of our great city—in all its diversity and complexity. Overall, this memorial will help commemorate the victims of a dark, yet formative chapter of our history”, he added.
The Museum of London Docklands and the Canal & River Trust will collaborate to build the new memorial, which will be close to the museum. This is close to the area where warehouses designed to receive slave-produced goods are located. A large number of places in London will also contain messages informing the public about the construction of the new memorial.
Debbie Weekes-Bernard, deputy mayor for communities and justice also commented on the memorial. Overall, she thinks this monument will also open up discussion about how this “very dark period of our history is actually a part of London’s story”.