May 24, 2021
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

From 25th May to 7th June, Move on over: From Countering Colston to Black Lives Matter is a series of events put together by BRHG and a number of other participating groups & organisations, including @GladColstonsGone on FB (Coalition for Solidarity with the Colston Defendants – CSCD), Countering Colston, Bristol Copwatch, the Institute of Race Relations, Tangent Books, M Shed, The Cube Microplex and other supporting groups & individuals.

Here Bristol Radical History Group explains this initiative:
“May 25th is the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, USA which sparked off a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement across the world. In Bristol, less than two weeks after Floyd’s murder, hundreds of BLM protestors pulled down the statue of the leading slave-trader and city icon Edward Colston. An action which also reverberated globally.
One year on Bristol Radical History Group present a fortnight of events celebrating the success of local campaigns challenging the celebration of the slave trader Edward Colston by Bristol’s elite institutions which culminated in the historic action of the Black Lives Matter movement last June.
Black communities and those who stand with them in Britain have never accepted racism and injustice without substantial resistance. That resistance has come in many forms creating a radical tradition, much of which remains obscured.
These events reveal the radical opposition of Black communities in post-war Britain to racism and racist policing and analyse the consequent reaction of the British state.
All the events, history walks, talks, films and discussions are free but we will be asking for donations to support the Colston 4 defendants campaign.”

Highlights include:

  • Tuesday 25 May, 6.30-8.15pm: Lantern Vigil of remmbrance – One Year One@gladcolstons gone. More details here.
  • Wednesday 26 May, 7.30-9.00pm: ‘Secret and delicate sources’: UK Black Power and undercover policingRosie Wild and Eveline Lubbers. More details here.
  • Thursday 27 May, 7.30-9.00pm: State and Police Racism: The Making of a Hostile Environment in Post-War BritainWinston Trew. More details here.
  • Friday 28 May, 3.30-5.30pm: History Walk: Edward Colston – why was he toppled? More details here.
  • Sunday 30 May, 4.00-5.15pm: The Hummingbird: the role of the the black bookshop in community self development – Cathy Lecointe in conversation with Ros Martin. More details here.
  • Tuesday 1 June, 7.30-8.30pm: Who will inherit the legacy of the Bristol Bus Boycott? –  Lilleith Morrison and Richard Jones. More details here.
  • Thursday 3 June, 7.00-8.30pmM Shed Book Launch: From Wulfstan to ColstonMark Steeds, Roger Ball, Spencer Jordan and Cleo Lake. More details here.
  • Friday 4 June, 6.00-7.30: ‘They don’t protect us’: A history of the police and monitoring groupsInstitute of Race Relations and Bristol Copwatch. More details and booking here.
  • Saturday 5 June, 2.00-4.00pm: History Walk: Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol. More details here.
  • Monday 7 June, 8.00-9.30pm: Black Power – a British Story of Resistance with BAFTA award winning director George Amponsah. More details here.

The 7th June is of course the first anniversary of the toppling of that 125 year old statue of the former Tory MP, profiteer from the slave trade, bigot and mass murderer Edward Colston. That happening, when ordinary people made history, resolved a problem that had lasted 125 years, during which time a cult of Bristol’s white, wealthy elite, led by the Society of Merchant Venturers, had cheerleaded for Colston & his statue. Well it ended up in the harbour. If you are #GladColstonsGone…then check these events out:

Institutional & structural racism, police brutality & racial profiling, inequality across all sectors, hasn’t gone away! it’s still alive & kicking and helped to fester by the Tory Govt’s hostile environment and desire to ensure any historical narrative favours them & their class, to maintain their power & privilege. That’s why we have things like the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill – designed to control us even more. That’s why we, the ordinary people, the masses, the working class, have to return to the streets again, and again, to win any reforms at all. Nothing is ever given, we have to fight to win our basic freedoms and improvements in living conditions every time. It is not an academic exercise or talking shop…but we need to understand and learn from our histories of struggles, to win again, to make our own history, and win big!