The Long Read in the The Guardian (16 April 2019)
This is an edited version of 'The Forgotten World - How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past' by Yvonne Singh, published online on Commonwealth Writers' adda (a gathering of stories).
In Cromarty’s graveyard, the mid-morning sun slants across the gravestones pockmarked with moss and lichen, illuminating the faint inscriptions. The statue of Hugh Miller, the town’s famed geologist and writer, perched Nelson-like on top a high column, overlooks the scene. I read the carved words on one crumbling grey stone that has sat in this cemetery for more than 150 years. It says: “John Munro late of Demerara.” Less clear is Berbice on another stone . . . One truth remains: however hard we try to erase our past, it has a habit of not staying buried for long.
The Smithsonian Magazine quoting my research
I have been using my reseach to support better awareness of Scotland's history of deep involvement with slavery - and to highlight ongoing issues of racism within our society.
I was disturbed by what I saw as the complacency of comments by a leading journalist in Scotland's Herald newspaper which suggested that 'ordinary Scots' were not involved with slavery and that Scotland's record on racism 'isn't bad'. I have published a response in the Press & Journal. Click on the links below to read both (subscription may be required).
The Herald, 7 June 2020, Iain Macwhirter: No society is free from racism but Scotland's record isn't bad
Press and Journal, 10 June 2020, David Alston: Scots were not a 'junior partner' in the Empire and slave trade
The Scotsman, 5 March 2020
'The eerie abandoned sugar plantation and its 'maniacal' Scots slave owner' describing my visit with Michael Hopcroft to Guyana and Suriname and our re-discovery of the tomb of James Balfour.