“There are, though, exciting ways that monuments could be used to throw light on the events of the past. They hold the possibility of being key objects for understanding the writing of history itself, and of how biased and complex that act can be.
“McCune Smith’s activism showed aspiring African Americans that becoming a professional black physician could be more than simply treating patients. For him, being an expert in medical science also included using his training to fight injustice and inequality.”
In Part 2 of his historical analysis of Scotland’s relationship with slavery, David Black highlights a typical ambivalence: progressive views sitting alongside naked exploitation.
‘…our statue problems in Scotland are surely puny; our current outrage a mite self-indulgent and synthetic, though the emblematic validity of our public monuments should indeed be critically scrutinised from time to time.’ Pt 1 of an exploration of our ambivalent representations of history.
This year’s Black History Month opens a new chapter in Scotland with a campaign to establish Scotland’s own museum of empire, slavery, colonialism and migration.
There is every chance that the strident, morally certain progressives of the future will look at us in much the same way we look at the slave owners. And much the same way the slave owners looked at the slaves; less than, unevolved inferiors…Sub-human’.
The poet describes herself as ‘a resident native who senses Glasgow’s contradictions’. Kate Tough both startles and stirs, and shines a new light with a contrarian view of the famously friendly city.
It wisnae us? Historian Stephen Mullen demolish myths and redirects attention to more uncomfortable truths about Scotland’s involvement in the Caribbean slave trade.
The national poets of Scotland and Jamaica, Burns and Marley, shared a passionate concern for the oppressed – and a host of other attributes as well as children born to many mothers. We pay tribute here to the work of the two Roberts – and their common genius.