A Liverpool tour guide who has spent decades educating people about the city’s role in the slave trade has been a Citizen of Honour.
The award formally recognises individuals who have made a significant, exceptional or unique contribution to enriching the image of the city and/or its citizens.
Eric Lynch – an honorary Ghanaian Chief who is a true descendant of African slaves through his father and mother’s father being born in Barbardos – has run a slavery history tour since the 1990s.
His tours includes monuments and reminders of the slave trade, which much of Liverpool’s wealth was built on, but many people do not know about.
The 86 year old left school at the age of 14 unable to read and write and eventually became a shop steward at the city council – where he started race awareness courses for local authority staff and Merseyside Police, and also supported a campaign for a slavery museum.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Christine Banks, said: “The Slave Trade is an uncomfortable truth about Liverpool’s past, but it is for that reason that it is vital that we never, ever forget it and continue to educate people about it.
“Eric Lynch has been an inspirational champion for black history, opening people’s eyes to the harsh reality of our past so that we can understand it and learn lessons.
“Sadly, although the slave ships of the past have long gone, slavery is still a global issue and something we must continue to raise awareness of.”
Mayor Joe Anderson, who proposed Eric Lynch for the Citizen of Honour award, said: “Eric’s dedication to raising awareness of black history over many years is something I am delighted we are honouring.
“It is much deserved, particularly as he was raising awareness of this issue long before the city apologised for its role in the Slave Trade and campaigning for a museum dedicated to slavery.”
Eric Lynch said: “No-one was more surprised than me when I found out that the Town Hall wanted to make me a Citizen of Honour.
“Doing the tours has changed my life, whether it’s through meeting people from around the world, doing interviews for international TV crews or travelling to Richmond in Virginia to speak about my work.
“It’s important that we don’t forget the slave trade. The Jewish people will, rightly, never forget what happened to them during World War Two, and black people should not forget the African holocaust.”