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  • Writer's pictureMartin Clarke

Statues matter - words on the fall of Colston

On Sunday 7th June I watched wide-eyed as the statue of Sir Edward Colston was pulled down in Bristol. My reaction was visceral and was a surprise. In the evening, as usual in recent weeks, I joined the audience for the virtual Sunday Ceilidh organised by Mairi Campbell. As the Zooming progressed I glanced down at my phone as Colston was rolled into Bristol Docks.

It was a transformative, joyous sequence, and I needed to understand what had gone on there, in Bristol, and within me. Ever since, the words I am searching for have been swirling and growing around my head. It’s started me on a voyage of discovery, and self-discovery, one that I should have started many years ago.

I suggested to Mairi that I would like to say something at a future Ceilidh, and she kindly accepted it for Sunday 21st June. So here we are. I will put the piece on here.

In the meanwhile here are some threads to follow up if you wish to. articles

Art at the centre of the debate

All museums and galleries must reconsider their holdings

Britain is no country for old men blog on Anthony Bryan

My first protest after two months at University - October 1968; a friend of mine climbed on the stage and banged a kettle drum to stir things up. Powell one week, Vietnam the next

Spectator 13.6.20 Matthew Parris with a similar response to mine

English Heritage - Statue of Sir Edward Colston

Removal of Confederate monuments

Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slave-Ownership - University College London

Slavery is still misunderstood - David Olusoga

A crowdsourced map of UK statues and monuments that celebrate slavery and racism

Britain’s 46,000 slave owners revealed

List of slave owners

The Middle Passage

Slave Ships list

The Abolition Project

Statue of Edward Colston

Colston sculptor John Cassidy

The Tate and Racial Equality

Marc Barham, Decline and Fall - The Statues of Empire

White European slavery in North Africa in the 16th Century

Slavery on the Barbary Coast

Slavery in Africa

Marti Burgess - first black elected to Society of Merchant Venturers in Bristol , May 2020

Vanessa Kisuule - Bristol’s City Poet - poem on Colstons statue ‘Hollow’ June 2020

Slavery in the 21st Century

Slavery in Roman Times

History Press - Slavery in history

Set in Stone ? Statues and Slavery in London

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