Historian Laurence Westgaph leads tours of Liverpool highlighting the city’s slave trading past.
Liverpool, England (CNN) — Tucked away in Liverpool’s Toxteth Park Cemetery, amid the weathered memorials to long-dead residents, lies a link to a little-known part of this famous city’s past.
The two lichen-mottled graves sit side-by-side, as ivy slowly encroaches. These are the final resting places of James Dunwoody Bulloch, and his brother Irvine Stephens Bulloch.
The Bulloch brothers died in Liverpool, but they were born an ocean away, in the US state of Georgia, and — like many Southerners of their generation — fought on the Confederate side in the American Civil War.
James, a foreign agent for the Confederacy, was sent to Liverpool to buy and build ships for its navy. Irvine served in that same navy, on board the CSS Alabama and the CSS Shenandoah — the last Confederate ship to surrender, on the River Mersey, months after the war had ended. When hostilities ceased, neither brother was offered a pardon, so they stayed on in England.
James’s grave features an inscription from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a US-based Confederate heritage group. Irvine’s tombstone was restored in 2009 by a different neo-Confederate group, the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
At the foot of both sits the iron cross of the Confederate States of America.
As the US grapples with the question of what to do with its controversial memorials to the Confederacy, across the Atlantic in Liverpool, the city is facing the same conundrum.
Strong ties to the Confederacy
Looking at the Bulloch grave markers, historian Laurence Westgaph explained why his city — once the de facto capital of the trans-Atlantic slave trade — has attracted the attention of several groups with Confederate sympathies over the years.
“It was said during the American Civil War that there were more Confederate flags flying here than in Richmond, Virginia — and Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy,” Westgaph told CNN.
The city had strong ties to the Confederacy through its shipping industry and the trade in cotton, produced on plantations across the southern states. During the war, blockade-running vessels carried arms across the Atlantic from Liverpool.
“I am sure a lot of people here … liked or enjoyed that connection,” said Westgaph. “That romanticism of the Deep South — the plantations, sitting on the porch drinking mint juleps, peach cobbler in the oven — people don’t associate it with visceral, racial slavery.”
For years, Confederate sympathizers have come to Liverpool to celebrate their heritage.
Now, in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter protests, the city is reconsidering the symbols of that terrible part of its past, and working out how to use them to educate Liverpool’s future generations.
Graves restored, rededicated
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is one of the groups that has made links with the city. The US-based neo-Confederate organization is fighting to preserve America’s Confederate symbols. Calls to remove them have gained new urgency in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
In 2009 and 2015, members of the group made two visits to Liverpool.
“In 2009 the Sons of Confederate Veterans came to Liverpool to a ceremony in order to see the re-dedication of Irvine Stephens Bulloch’s grave and that was paid for by the Liverpool city council,” Westgaph told CNN.
A spokesperson for the Liverpool City Council denied public money was used in the restoration of the Bulloch grave, but photographs from the rededication ceremony in 2009 show members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans dressed in Confederate battle uniforms, standing alongside the then Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mike Storey, and a city councillor.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans webpage marking the event thanks the city council for paying for the restoration of the tombstone.
“The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, his worship Mike Storey, talked about the work of the council in having the headstone repaired and how the city saw heritage as an important part of its culture,” the text on the site reads.
Storey, who has since been made a Baron and now sits in the UK’s House of Lords, confirmed he was in attendance, but also denied public money was used to restore the Bulloch graves.
“Let me say straight away that had I known what this event was really about I certainly would not have attended,” Storey said in a written statement to CNN.
Westgaph says there is no denying the Council’s involvement, pointing to multiple blog posts from 2009 and a document from the Mayor of Roswell, Georgia, thanking the city of Liverpool for rededicating Irvine’s grave.
“It makes me think they are insensitive to say the least — either that or just wilfully ignorant,” Westgaph said of Liverpool city officials. “Just because we are in England … that’s not an excuse to be able to commemorate individuals who were involved in keeping other people in chains.”
Sons of Confederate Veterans tour
In June 2015, Dylann Roof, a self-confessed white supremacist, shot and killed nine people in a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof, who was sentenced to death in 2017 for the murders, was repeatedly photographed with Confederate flags.
Four months later, the Sons of Confederate Veterans made another visit to Liverpool. The week-long trip concluded with the unveiling of a plaque honoring Confederate soldiers at 10 Rumford Place, considered by many to be the unofficial embassy of the Confederacy in the city.
“I find this plaque particularly egregious,” said Westgaph, who wants to see it removed. “I think it has no real place in modern Liverpool. This is not the type of thing that we should be commemorating in the 21st century. These were not people who were fighting for a noble cause.”
Jerry Wells’ name is one of those on the plaque. The 76-year-old was a commander of a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter in Virginia. He says he coordinated the week-long tour, for more than 200 people, with local officials. A Liverpool city council spokesperson denied any involvement.
“It took two to three years of planning. First fundraising and getting people interested in going to Liverpool, which it turned out we had a really great contingent,” Wells told CNN, from his living room in Richmond, Virginia.
During their visit, the group twice raised a Confederate flag in the city, including during a naval battle re-enactment marking the 150th anniversary of the last surrender of the Confederacy — the CSS Shenandoah — which took place in Liverpool on November 6, 1865.
“In fact, we had a 60-foot second national flag flying,” Wells said, a reference to the Confederate flag.
“Once you start gathering down on the Albert Dock, people start noticing you,” he said. “The whole week we were there, people were just in awe of what we were doing. Everybody said they knew nothing about this history with the Confederates.”
Wells acknowledged the evils of slavery, but said he wanted to make the people of Liverpool proud of their city’s role in bolstering the South during the American Civil War, “to let Liverpool people know that there was … support in Liverpool at that time for the Confederacy.”
Wells says he is a descendant of a Confederate soldier: “It’s just amazing how my grandfather and other men who survived could go through the carnage at these battles and survive, and I am here today to sing his laurels for being a great trooper.”
Shortly after the 2015 trip to Liverpool, Wells resigned from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He provided no explanation for his departure and said he did not want to “lambast his ex-organization.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based non-profit civil rights group that tracks hate crimes, monitors the Sons of Confederate Veterans and its members.
“The underlying cause of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is to lionize and maintain public support of an institution that was designed to maintain white supremacy,” said Howard Graves, Senior Research Analyst at SPLC.
Graves said that within the organization there have been individuals who hold dual membership to hate groups.
“I think their desire to maintain friends overseas is particularly bothersome because this is not just harmless pageantry,” he said.
City’s slave trade legacy
It is Tracey Gore’s job to decide how Liverpool should acknowledge its complicated links with the slave trade, as the head of the city’s new Race and Equality Taskforce.
But she said she had no idea about Liverpool’s past dealings with Confederate heritage groups until CNN contacted her about them.
“I was shocked and naturally it didn’t sit right with me. It absolutely didn’t sit right,” she said, just days before assuming her post.
She said it was now time to change minds inside City Hall. “The city doesn’t know the context,” she said. “They don’t understand the deep-rooted racism that exists within the Confederacy and what that means, and I think it’s born out of ignorance.”
Gore has just six months to create a plan to address systemic racism and inequality across the board in Liverpool — covering everything from policing and education to deciding whether to rechristen streets named after slave traders.
“The legacy of the slave trade in this city is actually the racial inequality and discrimination that still persists, and that’s what our attention should be drawn to,” she said.
Anderson, Liverpool’s current mayor, was not in office when Bulloch’s grave was restored in 2009, but he was in charge during the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ 2015 visit.
A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said the city’s current government had not had any dealings with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, pointing out that: “No visitors (in any context) need the approval of the council to visit our city.”
“The city and the Mayor have been very vocal in protesting the presence of far-right groups,” the spokesperson added.
No memorial to dead slaves
But Westgaph says it is only too clear who history remembers in Liverpool.
He has led guided tours highlighting the city’s slave history for 25 years, and says there is no plaque, no marker or monument to honor the people brutalized and stolen during the slave trade.
The city’s museum says that “between 1700 and 1807, ships from Liverpool carried about 1.5 million Africans across the Atlantic in conditions of great cruelty.”
Some didn’t make it that far. For years, Westgaph has searched for the graves of the slaves who died in Liverpool so he can memorialize their stories, for the first time.
His research led him to St John’s Gardens, a manicured public square where statues to at least two men linked to the slave trade stand tall.
These towering monuments celebrate the achievements of Arthur Bower Forwood and William Ewart Gladstone. Forwood, a former mayor of Liverpool, made his fortune as a blockade-runner for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Gladstone — four times a Prime Minister of Great Britain — has been hailed as “perhaps the greatest British politician of the 19th century.” But his family’s wealth was based on slave labor — his father was one of the largest slave owners in the British Empire.
Gladstone spoke out against abolition, and wanted to recognize the Confederate States of America as an independent nation. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, there have been calls to remove his statues.
“We are actually in a graveyard where many enslaved people were buried,” said Westgaph, gesturing to the ground beneath his feet. “So these memorials of individuals who benefited from the enslavement of African people are actually built on the bodies of enslaved Africans.”
At the beginning of the 20th century, the former cemetery here was landscaped, all traces of its past as a graveyard wiped out.
But Westgaph says he does not want to knock down the monuments to his city’s troubling past, erasing its history.
“I am not a fan of tearing down,” he said. “I would much rather see us retain these monuments and re-interpret them.”
Instead, he wants “interpretive plaques put on these monuments to tell people who these individuals were and the role they played in slavery and the slave trade.”
A panel of experts, including Westgaph, is working with the mayor’s office to survey the city and do exactly that — add signs to places, streets, and structures acknowledging their links to the slave trade.
Westgaph is also working with the local government to erect a memorial to enslaved people buried in Liverpool.
He would like to import a stone from West Africa — the ancestral home of many victims of the slave trade — and inscribe it with the few details he has been able to find in the city’s archives and burial records.
“You’ll find entries like: ‘A Black boy belonging to Mr. Penny,’ or: ‘Mr. Fisher’s Black,’ and I think people should be able to see this, so they understand that these individuals at that time were not even deemed worthy of their names.”
Australia’s coronavirus lockdown strategy worked. Could this be a model for the US?
“The Covid-19 epidemic in our country has gone through four waves,” Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Saturday. “Besides the first wave (in Wuhan), the other epidemic waves were clusters that were regional and small-scale and were effectively controlled.”
For some lockdown skeptics, China’s experience was easy to dismiss: the country is an authoritarian, one-party state, and its methods could not necessarily be applied in democracies.
But the situation in Victoria proves that the lockdown strategy does work elsewhere, and that, given the proper information and reassurances, people are willing to make the sacrifices required to contain the virus.
With the outbreak in Victoria contained, the number of cases throughout the rest of Australia has continued to trend down. On Sunday, New South Wales, which includes Sydney, reported four new cases, while Queensland state reported just one.
New Zealand too, which on Monday began reducing social distancing regulations after daily cases dropped to zero, has seen positive results from lockdowns, enabling the country to return to relative normality far faster than nations which did not take such measures.
The US, however, remains the worst hit country in the world, with more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases and almost 200,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. As those figures potentially rise through winter, and with less and less reason to go outside, some people may start to reconsider their anti-lockdown sentiment.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly suggested that authorities in Melbourne would consider lifting a nighttime curfew next week. The curfew is currently in effect until October 26.
CNN’s Angus Watson and Eric Cheung contributed reporting.
Cruz: Ginsburg was ‘one of the finest Supreme Court litigators to have ever lived’
“He obviously worked every day with Justice Ginsburg, and I will say he admired what a careful lawyer she was,” he said. “Consistently of the lawyers on the left, of the judges on the left. Chief Justice Rehnquist was always most willing to give an important opinion to Justice Ginsburg because she wrote narrow, careful opinions.”
Cruz also honed in on the importance of filling Ginsburg’s vacancy with a constitutionalist judge ahead of the November election. The senator had been on President Donald Trump’s shortlist of Supreme Court nominees.
“We’re one vote away from seeing our religious liberty rights stripped away, from our free speech stripped away, from our Second Amendment stripped away,” he added. “This election matters, and I think it is the most important issue in 2020 — electing presidents and a Senate who will nominate and confirm strong constitutionalists to the court.”
Matt Hancock Says “Everybody” Should Report Their Neighbours If They Flout Coronavirus Rules
3 min read
Matt Hancock has urged people to report their neighbours for flouting coronavirus rules as he announced heavy new penalties for those who fail to self-isolate when asked.
The health secretary said he would not hesitate to alert the authorities if he became aware of anyone breaking the new “rule of six” restrictions and that “everybody should” do likewise.
It comes after the government revealed new legal powers to hand out £10,000 fines to people who do not quarantine if they test positive for the virus, rates of which are rising rapidly across the country.
The measures also include a £500 support payment for those on lower incomes who have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, and a penalty for employers who punish employers for doing so.
Mr Hancock said the UK was at a “tipping point” and could face tougher national restricions if people fail to heed new guidelines.
“I don’t want to see more measures but unfortunately if people don’t follow the rules that’s how the virus spreads,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge.
“Everyone faces a choice and it comes down to individual moments – should I go to that party where there might not be social distancing?
“The answer is no, you should not.”
Mr Hancock said local lockdowns had brought cases “right under control” in parts of the country, as London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned the capital could be placed under additional curbs as soon as Monday.
And the health secretary said he would “not rule out” Londoners being asked to work from home, as he prepared to meet City Hall officials on Sunday.
He told Times Radio: “I’ve been talking to the Mayor of London over the weekend about what’s needed in London and that’s an example of local action in the same way that I was talking about the councils in the north east. And then we took action in Lancashire…and we had to bring in more measures in Wolverhampton.
“The conversation is…an ongoing one with the mayor.”
PoliticsHome is maintaining a live map of local lockdown restrictions across the UK, which is viewable here.
A source close to the mayor said on Saturday: “It’s clear that cases in London are only moving in one direction, we are now just days behind hotspots in the North West and North East.
“We can’t afford more delay. Introducing new measures now will help slow the spread of the virus and potentially prevent the need for a fuller lockdown like we saw in March, which could seriously damage the economy once again.”
Mr Hancock promised the UK has “got the cavalry coming over the next few months; the vaccine, the mass testing and the improvement in treatments”.
“But we’ve got to all follow the rules between now and then to keep people safe,” he told the BBC.
Asked what he expected the death rate could be if people failed to do so, the health secretary said: “It’s unknowable, because it depends on the behaviour of every single person in this country.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned new legal powers were not a “silver bullet” and urged ministers to fix the struggling test and trace programme.
He said Boris Johnson should apologise to the nation for the system’s failings and restart daily press briefings “so everybody knows what’s going on”.
“I don’t think a national lockdown is inevitable. I think it’s more likely because testing is all over the place,” he told Sky News.
“I think one of the conerns I have and a lot of people have is because the government has lost control of testing, it doesn’t know where the virus is.”
He added: “We are in this position just when we need testing to be at its best.”
The Labour leader also called for schoolchildren to be prioritised for testing to avoid mass school closures, with tests and results offered within a 48-hour period.
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