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24 September 2014
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Abolition of Slavery

Protestors outside the Town Hall in 1999
Protestors outside the Town Hall in 1999

Liverpool's slavery apology

By Paul Coslett
When, in 1999, Liverpool made a formal apology for the city’s role in the slave trade it sparked a storm of controversy.

In 1999 Liverpool City Council made a formal apology for the city’s role in the slave trade.

A special meeting of the city council acknowledged Liverpool's past in the slave trade its remorse

The apology was controversial with a group of campaigners against racism saying the move was too little, too late. They were angry that the meeting was being held in the Town Hall where there are images of black slaves within the plasterwork of the building.

The apology followed a motion put forward by Cllr Myrna Juarez who called for the city to express its remorse for the effects the slave trade had on millions of people worldwide.

Speaking in 1999 James Hernandez, of the Liverpool Anti Racist Community Arts Association said; “The whole thing offends me, it is insulting and smacks of being little more than lipservice to a paper exercise.

Woman
Cllr Myrna Juarez

“If they had taken into account our feelings I am sure they would not have staged an apology in that building. There is artwork in there that black people find racist and insulting.

“It is ironic to apologise in a building built on slavery and glorifying slavery without doing something to change it.”

A council spokesperson at the time said; “We can’t hide our history, it is built into the foundations of many institutions and buildings.

“What we can do is apologise. This is what we are doing, offering our unreserved remorse for the history of slave trading.”

last updated: 15/02/07
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