The Museum of the Home has gone very quiet since announcing last week that it would defy public feeling and keep its memorial to slave-trader Robert Geffrye. Its usually very responsive Twitter account has not posted anything since 31st July. They haven’t answered my questions.
Alongside narky radical historians and the usual lefties, the museum’s decision has been condemned by the Mayor of Hackney, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott as well as several local councillors. (I have not yet seen any comment from Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch?)
I was also very pleased to see this statement from artist Maria Fusco who was commissioned by the museum to produce an artwork for its reopening.:
Other coverage this week has included:
Vice Magazine – A London Musuem Is Ignoring Calls To Remove Statue of Slave Trader Robert Geffrye (Bex Wade)
Hackney Citizen – “Geffrye Must Fall”: Stand Up To Racism protest calls on museum to remove statue (Ed Sheridan)
Hackney Gazette – Hoxton’s Museum of the Home announces slave trader Geffrye’s statue will stay put (Emma Bartholomew)
Museums Association – Museum of the Home Decides to Leave Geffrye Statue In Place (Geraldine Kendall Adams)
Huffington Post – ‘Black Lives Clearly Don’t Matter’ As Museum Ignores Public Vote And Keeps Slave Trader Statue (Chris York)
(In fact the Museum has bizarrely decided to move its statement on BLM here – as several people have pointed out, you cannot support BLM and also agree with the decison to retain the statue).
Ligali have also produced this graphic comparing the Museum to the now closed LD50 gallery in Dalston which was happy to host meetings of the racist alt-right:
Pressure on the Museum is building. Elsewhere in London there is ongoing work to document racist memorials in Islington and the City of London – and evidence of City dignitaries celebrating the legacy of Hackney slave-trader Sir John Cass.
But let’s finish with a song. Paul Lime has suggested the following ditty which can be sung to the tune of “Solidarity Forever” by Ralph Chaplin. Let’s make some noise and bring down Geffrye.