DUNDEE’S historic links to the slave trade will be explored in a new cultural project coming to the city.

Breaking the Chains is a new walking trail and map which has been published today. It aims to guide Dundonians and visitors looking to dig under the surface of the city’s past around its famous landmarks which have links to slavery and the campaign for abolition.

Among the stops are the Tower Building at Dundee University, where the guide explains how the institution was funded by profits from the historic trade in human beings.

Mary Ann Baxter was one of the university’s prime donors and her family made their money selling clothing for slaves on plantations in the US and the Caribbean.

The family also gifted money to what is now Abertay University.

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Tourists will also learn the unsavoury history behind place names such as Sugarhouse Wynd and the city’s links with the sugar trade, propelled by slavery, between the Caribbean and the old world.

The tour also stops at the site of the former Bell Street UP Church, where the escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered one of his most famous speeches in 1846.

Georgia Cruickshank, chair of the cross-party Dundee council group on black history, said: "The story of the city's links with slavery and the abolition movement have not been told in any meaningful way, leaving a gaping hole in our knowledge. 

"What this map and web resource do is make sure that we hear and see for ourselves the part that Dundee and its people played in this inhumane trade so that we can properly address what is a broad, deep and of course, highly emotive subject."

Nadia El-Nakla, equalities spokesperson for Dundee City Council said: "The launch of this map can be seen as one of the starting points for a conversation about Dundee's connections with slavery and an opportunity for reflection in Dundee.

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“As the city looks back on its ancestors' role in the slave trade, some of the facts may be painful, but they are also undeniable." 

The map was authored by Matthew Jarron, a curator of Dundee University’s museum and Erin Farley, a local historian and librarian with Leisure & Culture Dundee.

Jarron said: “Dundee University was recently awarded a Race Equality Charter bronze award and as such we are committed to tackling systemic racial inequalities.

“This project is one of several initiatives that we are undertaking to address past injustices and I’m delighted to be working with Leisure & Culture Dundee to realise it.” 

Farley added: “Seeing the extent of the names and places mapped here brings home Dundee's historic connections with slavery in a new way. This is an important first step towards reckoning with what this history means for the city."

The map will be available at public libraries, the University of Dundee and other locations across the city from Monday 10 October. The online version can be accessed at www.leisureandculturedundee.com/slaverymap 

Two free walking tours will also take place as part on Thursday 13 October 2022 at 11am and Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 2pm as part of the Black History Month Scotland programme.