On 5 December, a small group of people carefully removed a sign marking Cassland Road Gardens in east London and laid it on the ground. Thus was one corner of the capital purged of its association with an offensive historical figure – John Cass, an early-18th-century slave trader.
The slave-trading initiatives endorsed by the English monarchy began with Queen Elizabeth I’s enthusiastic support of John Hawkins’ slaving expeditions in the 1560s.
That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect.
The minister for Africa James Duddridge admitted British officials had trained officers from the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) between 2016 and 2020 – having initially denied any ties.
Many of the enslaved Africans were branded with the initials ‘DY’, standing for Duke of York. They were shipped to Barbados and other Caribbean islands to work on the new sugar plantations, as well as further north to England’s American colonies.
Black History Studies lead a Black History Tour of the British Museum highlighting artefacts of African History held in the Museum.