The statue of slave trader Edward Colston is to go on public display for the first time since it was toppled from its plinth a year ago and thrown into Bristol’s docks. And the authorities behind the new presentation said they hope the temporary display at the M-Shed museum in the city centre will be a ‘starting point’ to begin a conversation about what to do next with the statue, and with how Bristol wrestles with its past as a city at the forefront of the transatlantic slave trade.
However the new presentation for the statue still seems to be largely removed of the role Colston played in the slave trade nor the 100 years of protest in the city against the statue. Fortunately, Bristol Radical History is here to help set the record straight;
As we have learned in exploring and exposing several myths around Edward Colston, it is worth checking the facts before accepting what his defenders claimed was true. So the blanket assertion that dissent and protest over Colston’s iconic status in the city was merely a passing fad of millennials that came from ‘outside’, required investigation. The research document below is the summary of a survey of around 80 incidents of dissent and protest concerning Edward Colston stretching out over the last century, before his statue was pulled down by Black Lives Matter protestors in June 2020.
We should also note that finally the Merchant Venturers have (sort of, sort of not) apologized for the role they took in stopping the proposed and of the role Bristol’s Merchant Venturers played in stopping any legal routes of displaying how the statue is presented;
I’m sure they would ‘like to focus on Colston’, and keep themselves away from any publicity, but the Merchant Ventures are still very much part of shaping and directing this city. @martr101 the word is arse not back.
People are facing criminal charges let’s not forget. pic.twitter.com/cRNj5LOSzc
— Fatbird (@Glutenfreescone) June 3, 2021
Plus there is little doubt that the attention on the statue has focused minds:
In being felled, the Colston statue has become more interesting and arguably taken more value as an item of historic interest – than it ever had standing. https://t.co/k3lmX03qKB
— Otto English (@Otto_English) June 4, 2021
Remember! You can support those accused of pulling down the statue, here.
Image credit here.