Sir John Hawkins: Calls to rename Medway Council car park

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car park
Image caption,
The car park in Chatham is named after an Eliabethan slave trader

A council is facing calls to rename a car park that is named after a 16th Century slave trader.

Medway Council, in Kent, is to consider proposals to rebrand Chatham's Sir John Hawkins car park in Chatham in July.

The Elizabethan sailor played an early role in establishing the slave trade in Britain.

Carol Stewart, of the charity Medway African and Caribbean Society, said it was a "constant reminder of someone who tortured people".

Ms Stewart said that steps needed to be taken to change the way society views the contribution of black people to British history, suggesting greater prominence be given to nurse Mary Seacole and Chartist reformer William Cuffay.

"Don't just talk about us in terms of people who are being oppressed, talk about us as people who have made positive contributions," she said.

"All we are asking for is a more balanced view of history."

Opposition Labour politicians on the council have tabled a motion to rename the car park to be discussed at a meeting on 16 July.

The leading Conservative group said it could not comment ahead of the meeting.

In Plymouth, the city council has announced plans to rename Sir John Hawkins Square, following objections over the link to the slave trader.

In London, mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a review of statues, plaques and street names in the wake of recent Black Lives Matter protests.

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