Several prominent streets in Glasgow have been “renamed” by activists speaking out against racism. The action, attributed to the Celtic ultras The Green Brigade, features street signs commemorating Black historical figures and victims of police brutality, added beneath existing street signs in the city.
Currently, many of the streets are named after historical slave and plantation owners associated with Glasgow, such as John Glassford, Andrew Buchanan, and Archibald Ingram, all prominent “Tobacco Lords”.
The replacement signs instead pay tribute to figures such as the civil rights activist Rosa Parks and abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The name of George Floyd – whose killing by a white police officer May 25 has ignited protests across the US – also features on the new, alternative street signs, as well as that of Sheku Bayoh, who died under similar circumstances in Scottish police custody in 2015.
A petition that is now approaching 12,000 signatures also calls for the changing of Glasgow’s street names related to slave owners, suggesting that they are replaced by notable Scottish activists. “I think it’s important to take these tobacco lords off the pedestal they seemingly stand on,” the petition reads.
Yesterday (June 5), Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, also renamed a street near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. Bowser also shared images of a large mural on the street, which bears the slogan in yellow paint.
However, critics of Bowser from a local Black Lives Matter group have called the mural a “performative distraction from real policy changes,” such as defunding the police.
Across the world, street artists have also created murals as tributes to George Floyd and other victims of police violence and systemic racism, often urging viewers and passersby to remember their names.