The Wandsworth Borough Council of London has approved £10,000 in funding to erect a statue of London's first Black mayor, John Archer. The council approved the move on the first day of the country's Black History Month with the intent of creating a charitable entity to assist with additional funding for the monument.
In creating the statue, the council hopes to work with an artist "of national significance and ideally someone of an Afro-Caribbean or African heritage." Along with a statue, the council plans to honor Archer by creating educational programs about him through local libraries and schools.
After approving funding for the statue, Labor Councilor Simon Hogg celebrated. He called Archer "a hero in Battersea's radical history."
"Symbolism is important but local people will continue to judge the council on its actions," Hogg said.
"Let's honour his legacy with more than just a statue, a century on we still need action so we can all enjoy good healthcare, quality of education, equal access to justice, so the statue will be an excellent statement but Battersea remains a divided community."
Archer was born in 1863 in Liverpool. He went on to study medicine and open up a photo studio. Along his journey, he became involved in politics and was known as a Pan-African activist. At the age of 50, he was elected Mayor of Battersea, making him the first Black mayor in London. He was also the founding President of the city's African Progress Union.
Archer's statue will be built in a "high-profile location" with "substantial footfall." The council expects to open it up to the public in 2022.
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