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.
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