9th Aug, 2020

BLM campaigners incorrectly name Redditch park on 'hit list' for toppling statues

Harry Leach 11th Jun, 2020 Updated: 11th Jun, 2020

BLACK Lives Matter campaigners have incorrectly identified Morton Stanley Park as a location for toppling statues connected to racism and slavery.

Protesters named the Redditch park on their ‘hit list’ believing it to be named after Henry Morton Stanley who was involved in the slave trade during his lifetime.

National newspapers picked up the false information and have since been asked by Church Hill councillor Mike Rouse to correct what they have cited.

Coun Rouse said: “I want to make it very clear that Morton Stanley Park is not named after Henry Morton Stanley.

“It is named after a local fish hook and needle entrepreneur called William Morton Stanley who had nothing to do with the abhorrent slave trade.

“He purchased land which he then generously bequeathed to the people of Redditch in 1924 to be used as a park.”

There are currently no statues in any Redditch parks – although the idea of erecting a William Morton Stanley memorial has been touted in the past.

The Borough Council’s portfolio holder for culture, parks and open spaces, added that Redditch has a rich historic and cultural background with strong working class roots.

“We are a town that thrives on equality of opportunity and benefits from cultural and ethnic diversity,” he said.

“I don’t think we have ever thought it would be appropriate to glorify figures in history who are marred in human controversy.

“And if we have ever done so I can commit to bringing these forward for review as soon as they are brought to my attention.”

Derek Coombes of Redditch Local History Society confirmed to the Standard that William Morton Stanley has no connections to slavery.

The death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked protests in cities and towns around the world under the banner of Black Lives Matter.

For more information about the movement and how you can get involved visit here.

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