Activists attempt to rename Glasgow streets named after slave owners

Buchanan Street was going to be replaced with George Floyd Street

Activists in Glasgow have placed new street name placards below the existing ones in several well-known streets in Glasgow.

This follows a campaign that started in September 2019, where Ciara Spratt began to raise awareness to the fact that a number of Streets in Glasgow are named after past slave owners; tobacco lords and other businessmen who profited off the slave trade enterprise. For example, one of Glasgow’s most well-known streets is called Buchanan Street and was named after Andrew Buchanan, who was a Tobacco trader and whose family had slave plantations in Virginia.

The online petition Spratt shared, called “Petition to rename Glasgow street names which are named after slave owners”, has had a rise in signatures in wake of the recent death of George Floyd, which sparked protests linked with Black Lives Matter movement. The petition calls for a replacement of the tobacco lords with Scottish activists who actually deserve to have their names shown. The petition has already had over 19,900 signatures, but Glasgow City Council has not yet done anything about this so activists took matters into their own hands.

The new street names appeared on Friday afternoon, with white writing on a black background which is the opposite to the existing signs. Buchanan Street, named after Andrew Buchanan, has been renamed George Floyd Street, however, the new street sign has been taken down. Wilson street was replaced with Rosa Parks street, named after the American activist. Cochrane Street was renamed Sheku Bayoh Street, who died in 2015 after he was restrained by police officers in Fife.

The signs were placed just in time for the protest today at Glasgow Green in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Glasgow City Council has not yet released anything in relation to the new street names, but hopefully, new steps will be taken to replace the old ones named after Slave Owners.

Photo Credit – The Green Brigade