Street renamed for being ‘racist’ vandalised after just one day

The newly unveiled La Rose Lane street sign (New Beacon Books)
The newly unveiled La Rose Lane street sign (New Beacon Books)

A street that was renamed for its racist connotations has been defaced just one day.

London’s ‘Black Boy Lane’, in Tottenham, was rebranded ‘La Rose Lane’ on Monday in honour of celebrated black publisher John La Rose.

The local authority said it had started a consultation into the planned name change following the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer of 2020.

Haringey Council said the decision to rename the street was made in response to concerns raised by residents Black Boy Lane “had racist connotations and was a source of ongoing hurt for Black people.”

But posting to Twitter on Tuesday, the council leader shared an image of the street sign covered in black spray paint.

Peray Ahmet said she was “really sad and disappointed” to have been sent the image of the damage just one day after the sign was unveiled.

“This follows a fantastic launch yesterday where we celebrated the life and legacy of John La Rose,” she said, adding: “What could this ever achieve beyond mindless vandalism.”

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Mr La Rose, a Haringey resident, was an influential figure in the struggle for social justice and recognition for Black authors, artists and thinkers.

He played a pivotal role in founding New Beacon Books in Stroud Green, and later the Caribbean Artists’ Movement.

In a separate statement, Ms Ahmed said she was “sad and disappointed” by the defacing of the sign “within 24 hours of us marking such a historic moment.”

She continued: “La Rose Lane makes visible a political history few people will know about because it has been rendered invisible. A history of struggle & resistance which transformed this nation. When people see John’s name they will have the opportunity to discover and learn.

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“I fully understand that this is a decision that has generated passionate responses and our Corporate Committee took those full range of views into consideration when deciding to change the name of the road.

“An act of mindless vandalism will simply not be tolerated in Haringey. Now is the time to move forward and come together to honour the legacy of John La Rose and the many other Black residents who have made such a huge contribution in the borough.”

Renaldo La Rose, grandson of Mr La Rose, yesterday said that the family was “really proud that John’s life and work is to be recognised by having a road named after him.”

He went on: “John’s work was of national and international significance but much of it started here in Haringey.

“We hope that through having his name memorialised in this way we will bring the message of his work – the urgent need for race equality and justice – to a new audience.”