Toppling Edward Colston’s Statue is Unlikely to be Enough to Stop Public AngerHistorians in the News
tags: slavery, colonialism, racism, British history, memorials
The toppling of slaver Edward Colston’s statue has electrified a longer term – and already deeply polarised – debate among British historians and academics, with some celebrating a “moment of history” as others warned of dark consequences for society.
Inaction over figures such as Colston had bred anger that would be felt “all over Britain”, said Andrea Livesey, a historian specialising in the study of slavery and its legacies and who described the events in Bristol as “wholly justified”.
Her employer, Liverpool John Moores University had been “relatively shielded” from the most recent debates on statue toppling and renaming because of its status as a post-1992 university, she said.
“Yet we have origins going back to 1823 to people who benefited the most from the Atlantic slave trade,” she said. “Our case is symbolic of Britain’s memory of slavery: shielded from view, far away from the plantations of the US and Caribbean, and only visible to those who have taken the time to educate themselves.”
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