London Mayor Sadiq Khan Backs Plans for Slavery Museum

The museum could help to tackle racism against the capital’s black and ethnic minority population.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Photo via The Independent
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Photo via The Independent

Progressive think tank Fabian Society has put forward the idea of a London museum focused on Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. The notion was published in the Capital Gains report, which is sponsored by the City of London. The Fabian Society say the museum could help to tackle racism against the nation’s BAME population. 

The idea has been backed by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who tweeted that, “Acknowledging Britain’s role in the slave trade is key to challenging racist ideology and deepening our understanding of the past…” 

The museum is hoped to positively challenge the increasing levels of racism in the capital post Brexit. According to The Voice, the Fabian Society argue that the introduction of a slavery museum could help to dispel historical myths and stereotypes often unfairly fixed on London’s black and ethnic minority population. 

Supporting the reasoning behind the proposal, Khan said: “It is right that all Londoners see themselves and their history reflected in our city’s museums and cultural institutions. Learning more about the uncomfortable nature of our city and our nation’s role in the transatlantic slave trade can serve to deepen our understanding of the past and strengthen our commitment to fight racism and hatred in all its forms.”

Omar Khan, of the racial equality think tank Runnymede Trust, wrote in the report that racial discrimination was linked to “centuries-old tropes about the inferiority of people of colour”.

“These tropes first emerged to justify the enslavement of African people and then colonialism. Britain and other European nations first exercised political and economic domination of peoples in Asia, Africa and then the Americas, which required a moral or ideological justification.” 

Officials at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool (which focuses more generally on the trans-Atlantic slave trade) are interested in collaborating with Sadiq Khan on the proposed initiative. “We have confronted the difficult history of our city and share information about enslavement globally past and present. We would love to talk to you about the London museum proposal,” the Liverpool museum tweeted.

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