UK: At Least 69 Monuments and Memorials Removed or Renamed Amid Ongoing BLM Mania

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

At least 69 monuments and memorials in Britain have been removed, renamed, or altered after Black Lives Matter (BLM) swept the country, according to a Guardian audit.

The left-wing newspaper “estimated 39 names – including streets, buildings, and schools – and 30 statues, plaques, and other memorials have been or are undergoing changes or removal” since BLM unrest swept across the Atlantic from the United States to the United Kingdom and, lacking a George Floyd figure to rally behind, made Britain’s history and built heritage its primary target.

Victims of the purge include not only “slave traders” such as Edward Colston, a once-revered Christian philanthropist, parliamentarian, and merchant who, being born in 1636, had some business links to the slave trade, has had his statue in Bristol ripped down by a mob, a stained glass window memorialising him taken down by the Church, and several buildings named in his honour rebranded.

They also include figures such as Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, in his day — the 18th century — something of a progressive figure, now cancelled by his alma mater for expressing some views considered politically correct by 21st-century standards — and Sir William Gladstone, celebrated as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers until recently, now cancelled because his father had a financial stake in Caribbean plantations which used slave labour prior to abolition.

There are many more monuments and memorials not taken down by woke public officials, institutions, and businesses which have been vandalised or otherwise targeted by BLM activists and rioters.

Among the most well-known targets are the Cenotaph national war memorial to the ‘Glorious Dead’ of the world wars and subsequent conflicts, the statue of Sir Winston Churchill — repeatedly defaced with graffiti branding him a “racist” — in Parliament Square, and a statue of Queen Victoria in Leeds, daubed with pejoratives such as “whore”, “slag”, and “slave owner” (which is historically inaccurate).

“If the government is really concerned about inequality and racism, they would be the first to say yes, let’s put these statues in a special museum dedicated to crimes against humanity and stop glorifying people publicly,” said Hakim Adi, a black professor at Chichester University, in comments to the Guardian.

“But they take the opposite view,” he said, referencing belated efforts to pass legislation making it harder to remove memorials.

“So then you have to question everything they say about wanting a more just and equal society, a society without racism, because it’s just hypocrisy,” he added.

“There’s the danger that the statues will go down and plaques will be removed, but the racist structures remain,” remarked Robert Beckford, who the Guardian describes as a “professor of black theology”, offering the removals a cautious welcome but hinting strongly that they are not enough.

“I’m interested in a holistic response that enables us to keep in balance a recognition of how and why these statues were erected” he explained.

“And secondly, how we then deem the history in a way that is inclusive and just and providing us with a vision of what it means to be a multicultural, multi-ethnic nation.”

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