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Joe Williams addresses systemic racism during talk for Black History Month at Leeds Trinity University

By Georgia Levy-Collins

Joe Williams

“Racism is systematic, not individual,” the founder of black history walks in Leeds today told an audience for Black History Month at Leeds Trinity University.

Joe Williams is the founder and director of the organisation Heritage Corner.

The organisation is based in Leeds and works to educate people and discover more about British Black African history.

One of the main ways the group go about doing this is the Black History walks they hold, and have been running since 2009, where Joe talks people on a guided tour of Leeds whilst giving detailed information about the links between Leeds landmarks and African historical culture.

In the talk held on October 6 at Leeds Trinity University, Joe Williams said how the existing representation of African Black history in Leeds comes across as “not quite human”.

He referred to the statues of Nelson Mandela’s arms and one made in 1905 where the only black person present is shown as a servant.

Slavery was abolished in 1838 in Britain, but this image is still shown and sets a default of how black people are seen. Williams went on the say that these unrepresentative sculptures inspired him to make “young people feel of value.”

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