Justin Fashanu and LGBT+ icons among Black Brits honoured on redesigned London Tube map

Lily Wakefield October 13, 2021
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Justin Fashanu of Norwich City. (Allsport UK /Allsport/Getty Images)

Justin Fashanu of Norwich City. (Allsport UK /Allsport/Getty)

Justin Fashanu has been included among Black British people honoured on a redesigned London Tube map for Black History Month.

Transport for London (TfL) collaborated with the Black Cultural Archives to launch the first Black History Tube map, which renames every tube stop to honour Black British figures from pre-Tudor times to the present day.

Each tube line has a different theme, including sports, arts, performers and physicians.

The Jubilee line is dedicated to LGBT+ icons, and the stop which is usually Canada Water now reads “Justin Fashanu”.

Justinus Soni “Justin” Fashanu was an English footballer who came out as gay in an interview with a tabloid newspaper in 1990.

At the time, coming out was completely unheard of for a major sporting figure, but the article The Sun contained various scandalous claims, including that he had had an affair with a Conservative MP.

Fashanu admitted that coming out caused “heavy damage” to his career, and struggled to cope with the pressures of tabloid attention and backlash from fans. He eventually took his own life in 1998.

Three decades since Fashanu came out, he remains the only footballer to do so while playing for the England’s professional men’s league.

Other figures on the Black History Month map’s Jubilee line include bisexual writer and poet Claude McKay, lesbian medical researcher Barbara Buford, gay doctor Cecil Belfield Clarke, bisexual cabaret star Leslie Hutchinson, and gay civil servant Ivor Cummings, who was the first Black official in the British Colonial Office.

Arike Oke, managing director of the Black Cultural Archives, said in a statement: “London’s Black history is deeply embedded in its streets and neighbourhoods.

“We’re delighted, as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, to use this opportunity to share new and old stories about Black history with Londoners and visitors to London. We hope that the map will be an invitation to find out more and to explore.”

Marcia Williams, head of diversity at TfL, added: “Black people have played a significant role in all aspects of British life for thousands of years.

“From civil rights, art, and transport, to medicine and journalism.

“It is fantastic to see the true scale and breadth of this contribution commemorated on TfL’s iconic Tube map – a symbol so synonymous with London and the UK.”

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