Drakeford orders urgent review of statues and street names to address Wales’ connections with slave trade

Gaynor Legall. Picture by the Welsh Government

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has ordered an urgent audit of statues, street and building names to address Wales’ connections with the slave trade.

The Welsh Government said that the announcement followed a month of action by the Black Lives Matter movement, which had shone a light on racial inequalities around the world.

The audit, which will span the length and breadth of the country, will be led by Gaynor Legall, an advocate for ethnic minority women across Wales.

Cardiff-born Legall, will lead the task and finish group selected for their expertise in the slave trade, British Empire and history of black communities in Wales.

The Minister for Education will also shortly announce further details of a working group to oversee the development of learning resources, and identify gaps in current resources or training related to BAME communities, their contributions and experiences, the Welsh Government said.

This work is aligned to the Estyn review of Welsh history, which will take full account of Welsh, and wider, BAME history, identity and culture.

 

‘Justice’

“The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to the fore a number of important issues we need to address as a country,” Mark Drakeford said.

“One is the need for Wales to reflect on the visible reminders of the country’s past. This is especially true when we look at the horrors of the slave trade.

“Some of our historic buildings are reminders of this painful period of our history. Some may appear to make heroes of historical figures whose actions we now condemn. Individuals connected to the slave trade may be remembered in street names or the names of public buildings. They are commemorations of a past that we have not fully challenged and that we should challenge now.

“This is not about rewriting the past – it is about reflecting it with the justice it deserves. If done in the right way, we can create a richer and more informed relationship with our history. We can find new stories and figures to celebrate. We can reflect a Wales that rightfully celebrates our diverse communities. This is what our past deserves and our present so rightfully demands.”

An external group of young people and communities will be consulted about the findings, he said.

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