Black Lives Matter protests have led to the toppling of colonial and slavery monuments in the US and several European countries.
In Germany, an online campaign has been launched calling for the renaming of a popular street in the country’s capital city.
Mohrenstrasse, located in the central district of Berlin, is the focus of attention of activists who are questioning symbols of colonialism and slavery amid the global anti-racist movement.
Mohren was the German derogatory description of Africans during the slave trade.
“Few people are aware that in addition to Spain, Portugal, England, France and Holland, Brandenburg-Prussia was directly involved in the transatlantic slave trade in the late 17th and early 18th centuries,” Decolonize Berlin e.V. said in a statement.
“There is even a street name that goes back directly to the deportation of people of African origin not only to the Americas, but also to the palaces of the royal city of Berlin. The in 1706 named M*straße [Mohrenstrasse] is the discriminatory term for Berlin’s first Black residents for over three centuries in the public space,” the group said, calling for the renaming of the street.
The group justifies its call for the renaming “because for us this oldest German term for people of African origin connects the memory of their systematic enslavement, their violent abduction and their centuries of exploitation and discrimination by White Europeans.”
Decolonize Berlin wants the street to be renamed after Anton Wilhelm Amo to honour the first scholar of African descent in a Prussian university. Amo was abducted in the territory of today’s Ghana and brought to Europe as a slave at the beginning of the 18th Century. He was educated at the universities of Halle and Wittenberg, where he received the degree of a doctor of philosophy in 1737.
Decolonize Berlin has been agitating against the neglect of the history of Germany’s participation in the slave trade and colonisation by calling attention to public sites that were named after Germans who participated in the country’s violent imperial enterprise. The group has been holding an annual event for the renaming of the Mohrenstrasse for several years.
To sign the petition, click here