“It is understandable that people in Bristol have finally become exasperated with the years of debate on having a statue of a man whose wealth was founded on slavery, as Edward Colston’s was, and have taken action.”Jeremy Corbyn MP.
The horror of George Floyd’s murder has opened the eyes of millions in the USA and around the world to the reality of US policing, and to the racism and poverty faced by the Black community in the USA.
It has resonated around the world, including with the huge anger here at the racism, discrimination and poverty in our own society.
And the debate about the fate of an unwelcome statue in Bristol has opened an important discussion on a scale we have not seen before about our understanding of our own history.
Britain was the main participant in the slave trade. Vast sums of wealth was made by merchants in all our cities from the slave trade and the connected big institutions, such as in the sugar cane and other trades. The monies to pay the compensation awarded to the ‘owners’ of enslaved people was so large it was only finally paid off five years ago.
Places such as Glasgow have led the way, with the University recognising it had received significant financial support from people whose wealth was derived, in part, from slavery and acting to educate people about this past.
It is understandable that people in Bristol have finally become exasperated with the years of debate on having a statue of a man whose wealth was founded on slavery, as Edward Colston’s was, and have taken action.
Dawn Butler, when Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, made the great proposal of the establishment of an Emancipation Educational Trust. This would mean the real history of the brutality of slavery and its continued legacy could be taught in our schools all year round, not just in Black History Month.
In honour of all the victims of slavery, racism and discrimination it is an idea whose time has come.
- This was originally published on Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook Page here.