Daniel Halliday
Jun 9 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

Should statues of slaveholders be torn down?

Edward Colston was an English salve trader and philanthropist, who used his wealth and position to fund schools, hospital, almshouses and churches in his hometown of Bristol, England. Today a number of statues, landmarks, streets, schools, and school “houses” are named after Colston, which has been a long topic of debate in Bristol and elsewhere. Many people have called for the removal of slaveholder statues and memorial landmarks internationally, and one example of this was a statue of Colston in Bristol’s town centre which was erected in 1895. During the UK George Floyd solidarity protests in June 2020 Colston’s statue was defaced, removed and thrown into Bristol harbour by protestors, causing mixed reactions from politicians and the general public. Were protests right to remove Colston’s statue in this way? Should statues of figures involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade be removed elsewhere also? youtube.com/watch?v=qejY3gfv72s
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Such statues and memorial landmarks should be removed, they are not accurate displays of history, but a whitewashed bastardisation of history seen through the eyes of the men who gained power and wealth from endorsing and exploiting slave labour. A statue in and of itself is not history, and the process of studying and reviewing history will continue regardless of the presence of statues in public places of reverence. In this way the removal of the statue is more historically important than the statue. The fact that his statue now resides in the very harbour his slave ships would have come in through hundreds of years ago is poetic justice, the statues should remain in the harbour, a plaque can be placed where they threw it in to commemorate this historic event.

Colston was the Deputy Governor of the Royal African Company, the organisation who monopolised British Trade of African slaves, he was more than a investor in slavery, he played an integral part in leading and organising it. Due to the work of Colston and his associates 90,000 to 100,000 slaves were branded with "RAC" on their chests and transported across the Atlantic Ocean from 1672 to 1689. This shameful legacy was questioned for many years in recent decades with petitions being put forward to Bristol council, but the statue still stood and efforts to put up an explanatory plaque of Colston's true legacy never came to fruition. Likewise efforts to rename a music venue in Bristol called Colston Hall have ended in a renaming due to boycotts by various concert goers and artists. Similar statues will be removed in time as more question the relevance of the history these statues represent and their place in modern society.

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/08/edward-colston-statue-history-slave-trader-bristol-protest theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/08/edward-colston-statue-history-slave-trader-bristol-protest aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/edward-colston-statue-toppled-200608074704047.html buildnationblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/royal-african-company

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 12
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DH edited this paragraph
Such statues and memorial landmarks should be removed, they are not accurate displays of history, but a whitewashed bastardisation of history seen through the eyes of the men who gained power and wealth from endorsing and exploiting slave labour. A statue in and of itself is not history, and the process of studying and reviewing history will continue regardless of the presence of statues in public places of reverence. In this way the removal of the statue is more historically important than the statue. The fact that his statue now resides in the very harbour his slave ships would have come in through hundreds of years ago is poetic justice, the statues should remain in the harbour, a plaque can be placed where they threw it in to commemorate this historic event.
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