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Fortunes in #OldWeirdScotland were made through black slavery. Many of the figures revered as "canny Scots", were directly involved in, or complicit in colonialism, oppression, exploitation and subjugation (e.g. Livingstone, Monboddo, Burns). 1/14
Here is a thread of a *few* times Scots stood up for black slaves and were united against racism in their communities, not so Scots can pat ourselves on the back, but as examples perhaps worth aspiring to. #OldWeirdScotland 2/14
In 1769, A slave named "Black Tom", brought to Methil by David Dalrymple, fled to E. Wemyss and was baptized David Spens. A farmer in Methilhill sheltered Spens but Dalrymple had him jailed in Dysart. 3/14
The local miners, salters, and labourers took up collection for Spens's bail (£30) and legal fees. Spens was part of their community and they stood up for him. 4/14 #OldWeirdScotland
Ned Johnston, a black slave brought to Scotland by Archibald Buchanan in the 1760s (Buchanan Street Buchanans) was helped to escape by his local community and given freedom by magistrates in Glasgow. He was badly abused and his community stood up for him. 5/14 #OldWeirdScotland
Tom Jenkins lived in Teviothead having left West Africa on a slaveship in 1803. He attended the village school and taught himself maths, Latin, & Greek in his spare time. 6/14
At age 17, Tom was recommended as the new parish school teacher, but the racist presbytery refused to appoint him. Clearly the best candidate, his community started a fund for a salary and created an independent school for him to teach in. 7/14
Between 1814 and 1818 he taught up to 45 pupils at a time in the Teviothead Smiddy. With his salary and donations he took classes at @EdinburghUni and went to teacher training school in London. 8/14
Tom Jenkins was Britain's first black schoolteacher. His community rallied around him and gave him the support he needed when the system in power denied him it. 9/14 #OldWeirdScotland
Peter Burnet, an American runaway slave (but born free in Virginia) came to Paisley and worked as a weaver in the 1780s. Said to be the best dressed man in town, he was well-liked in the weaving community. 10/14
Peter was falsely imprisoned after his landlord lied about him owing money. Without work, the weavers, led by the Tannahill family, got him a bed and food and organised his release. The radical weavers looked after their own. 11/14
Incidentally, it was Peter who dived into the Candren Burn and retrieved the body of his friend Robert Tannahill after the poet drowned himself in 1810. In 1841, a friend published Peter's life story so he could support himself in his old age. 12/14
"A Sketch of the Life of Peter Burnet", which went to at least 8 editions, was subtitled "who came to Paisley sixty years ago, where he still lives, a very old and respectable man". It is well worth a read. Peter Burnet died in 1847 aged 86, an auld Buddy. #OldWeirdScotland 13/14
Scots today are taught very little about Scotland's history in establishing and profiting from black slavery. The modern day legacies of the slave trade also get little attention. 13.5/14
You can sit back and say "it wisnae me" when it comes to racism, or you can stand up for those on the receiving end. These #OldWeirdScotland stories are examples of communities using their privilege to help black Scots.
We maun dae the same the day. 14/14
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