With a nod to Black Lives Matter, UK's Johnson gives Biden mural photo

by Reuters
Thursday, 10 June 2021 19:02 GMT

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumb up as U.S. President Joe Biden looks on during their meeting, ahead of the G7 summit, at Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain June 10, 2021REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Image Caption and Rights Information

Biden reciprocated by presenting Johnson, a keen cyclist, with a U.S.-made bicycle and helmet

(Adds details)

CARBIS BAY, England, June 10 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave U.S. President Joe Biden a framed photograph of a British mural depicting Black 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the British leader's office said on Thursday.

Biden reciprocated by presenting Johnson, a keen cyclist, with a U.S.-made bicycle and helmet and giving a silk scarf and leather bag made by military wives for his wife Carrie.

Johnson's gift, presented during a G7 summit which marks Biden's first official overseas engagement and a chance to reaffirm trans-Atlantic ties, is a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement that has pushed race relations to the fore in both countries.

Douglass escaped slavery in the United States, going on to become an abolitionist leader who toured Britain and Ireland, with which Biden has ancestral ties.

Biden cited Douglass in a 2020 speech on race at a time when the country was confronting questions on contemporary and historical racial injustice sparked by a protest movement that also spread to Britain and prompted a similar outpouring.

The mural is painted on the wall of a residential street corner in Edinburgh, a city where Douglass stayed on his tour, by artist Ross Blair who used the hashtag #blacklivesmatter when first unveiling the piece online in 2020.

The black and white mural portrait of Douglass was photographed by dual British-U.S. national Melissa Highton.

U.S. first lady Jill Biden was given a first edition copy of 'The Apple Tree' - a collection of short stories by 20th century British author Daphne du Maurier, who lived in Cornwall, the picturesque corner of England that is hosting the G7 summit. (Reporting by William James and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Michael Holden)

We want to hear from you: what critical stories and perspectives are missing from our coverage of systemic racism around the world?

Your responses to our short survey will help shape our reporting.

You can submit your response anonymously. If you provide an email address, we may follow up with you for more information. Any information you share with us will remain strictly confidential and will be used only in accordance with our Privacy Statement.