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A Tale of Two Colstons: The Rise and Fall of A British Slave Trader’s Legacy by Ritch Sibthorpe

Abstract: The toppling of a statue of slave-trader and Royal Africa Company (RAC) executive Edward Colston during the Black Lives Matter protests of June 2020 is, perhaps, the most high profile example of the conflict between contemporary British society’s social conscience and historic civic monuments adorning public streets and buildings, dedicated to those who’s fortunes are rooted in slavery. Colston played a key role in Britain’s seventeenth-century slave-trade, rising to the role of deputy governor of the RAC in 1689, before endowing schools, churches, almshouses and hospitals across his birthplace of Bristol. Following his death in 1721, the nineteenth century saw an enthusiastic celebration of Colston’s legacy with his name adorning music halls, schools and civic institutions culminating in the installation of a bronze sculpture in his image, made by John Cassidy in 1895, in the centre of Bristol.

Date created: 
Monday, June 6, 2022
Attribution for this resource:
A Tale of Two Colstons: The Rise and Fall of A British Slave Trader’s Legacy by Ritch Sibthorpe, All rights reserved.
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