Black Boy Lane in Tottenham, London will be officially renamed on Monday as La Rose Lane after John La Rose, a historic local who was a famous publisher and activist. He founded New Beacon Books, the first Caribbean publishing house in England.
Haringey Council has made the decision to rename Black Boy Lane, which is thought to have been named after a 17th-century pub.
Several areas across London with names linked to the transatlantic slave trade have been renamed in the last few years.
The council first began a consultation into a name change following the death of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked international anti-racism and Black Lives Matter protests.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, made funding of up to £25,000 available for communities which wish to rename buildings or streets in order “to celebrate the histories and experiences of Londoners from diverse backgrounds”.
Haringey Council said that “many other residents shared the concerns about the racial connotations of the name and the impact its continued use has on black people in Haringey”.
The street Black Boy Lane is thought to have been named after a historic pub during the time Britain was involved in the slave trade but the origin of the pub’s name is unknown.
However, the council said: “During the 20th century the pub’s sign depicted a racially caricatured image of a black person until it was replaced as a result of pressure from local residents in the 1980s.”
They also said: “The terms ‘black boy’ or ‘boy’ when referring to black men have historically been used as racist terms to belittle black males, and signal they are worth less than their white male counterparts.
“While pejorative use of the term ‘black boy’ or ‘boy’ is mostly synonymous with slavery in the US, it has continued to be used as a derogatory racist term in many countries.”
A campaign group named Save Our Statues has criticised the council for spending public money on the new name change and claimed it was a “futile gesture”.
Save Our States was founded in June 2020 when the statue of Edward Colston, a merchant and slave trader, was pushed into Bristol Harbour following protests related to Black Lives Matter.
Robert Poll, the founder of the group, said: “This move is representative of the current impulse to hunt out racism and offence where there is none as a performative display of virtuousness.”
Mr Poll has described himself as a “heritage campaigner and libertarian” on their group’s Twitter page, which has over 35,000 followers.
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