MP David Lammy has commented on a new report into Stop and Search by the Stopwatch Coalition which found that black people in England and Wales are now nearly nine times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched for drugs. He described Stop and search as an “ineffectual” practice and an “integral cog in a racially disproportionate” criminal justice system, citing his own memories of being stopped and searched as a 12 year old. “Many years later, the fear and embarrassment of the first time I was stopped and searched for a crime I did not commit remains with me. We must stop stigmatising black men, and search for more intelligent, long-term solutions to the problems that foster criminal activity in the first place.” Read the full article.
MJR welcomes two announcements from the Labour Party that would mark progress in the recognition and addressing the problem of the legacy of slavery.
According to this article in Voice, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says he wants institutions to “give back” to descendants of slave trade. The donations would fund bursaries for people from British BAME communities which would provide education and training for underrepresented groups in sectors such as finance and banking.
Plans for a new Slavery Education Trust have also been unveiled by the Labour Party which will not only educate people about the horrors of slavery through school programmes and trips to historical landmarks but also highlight the resilience of those enslaved and the contribution to the world made by Africa and the Caribbean.
Read the full article here...
A new study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank claims that Government figures for the number of children permanently excluded from school are “the tip of the iceberg”, with five times more children being educated in schools for excluded pupils than official data suggests. The official figure is 6,685 – itself a 40% rise in three years –, but PPR estimate the true hidden figure is closer to 48,000, with boys outnumbering girls by 3 to 1. A report in the Guardian on the study notes that: "Black pupils from Caribbean backgrounds are still significantly overrepresented in pupil referral units, though most pupils (70%) are white British." The correlation to poorer white pupils (as measured by free school meals) is also clear. This research echoes findings shared by MJR at our Proving Legacy event last year. Read the IPPR report here.
A new book 30 Days a Black Man chronicles the month Pulitzer Prize-winning - and white - journalist Ray Sprigle spent living as a black man in the American South in 1948. His experiences were published in two Pittsburgh newspapers in a 21-part series called “I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days” and caused much shock and reaction, including from Eleanor Roosevelt. The book also reflects on the ethical nuances of doing such a thing and how his own assumptions influenced his writing. This article tells the story and goes into the issues in more detail.
"When James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time was first published in 1963, it sent ripples throughout America as one of the most passionate and raw explorations of race relations of its time. Now, more than 50 years later, the book carries fresh relevance, as the United States and much of the Western world continues to struggle with the issue of racial inequality. Perhaps that’s why publisher Taschen has decided to release a new edition featuring stunning historical images captured by civil rights-era photographer Steve Schapiro." More...
Trans-Atlantic slavery was just one aspect of the process of European colonialism, and a new book by Indian MP Shashi Tharoor has been described as a "blistering critique of our colonialist past". The themes of 'Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India' are said to have echoes today. In this interview with Channel 4 News and in this article Tharoor speaks of the legacy of empire as a British problem because of "historical amnesia about what the empire really entailed". Colonial history is not taught in schools and there is "no real awareness of the atrocities, the fact that Britain financed its Industrial Revolution and its prosperity from the depredations of empire."
Three architects have created a comprehensive online map of properties in Edinburgh connected with the Atlantic slave trade in an effort to connect the horror of the voyage to the prosperity of Scotland's development. They designed it as an attempt to record Scotland's physical legacy of slave ownership, mapping all the addresses of slave owners, as well as records of compensation claims, following the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. More...
One of our dreams for MJR is to acquire a sailing ship that can be fitted out as a replica slave ship and used as part of an exhibition centre (see Projects). Another exciting possibility for this vessel would be to sail it around some of the ports used in the slave trade. Nigel Pocock of MJR has published a first draft of "A Voyage Around the Slave Ports of Britain", a survey of the many ports of Britain used for the transport of slaves, with statistics and stories. PLEASE NOTE: This document is very much a ‘work-in-progress’, with a number of gaps still to be filled. If anyone reading is able to provide additional information, which would be very helpful, please contact MJR.
The latest information, views and news from MJR.