Remembering slavery: public commemoration

Look around any town or city in Britain and you will see a statue to commemorate a local person of note. Bristol has many statues in the city, of politicians, soldiers, engineers, philanthropists and the like. Most were erected in the 19th century, most are of men, all but one are white. In a city whose fortunes in the 18th century were so linked to those of the slave trade, there is a growing feeling that there should be some monument to commemorate the many Africans and people of African descent whose lives were changed forever by the activities of slave traders from Bristol. Where, when and how are questions which have, as yet, no answers.

Pictured here is a painting by a Bristol artist, Tony Forbes, who is of African-Caribbean descent. The self-portrait includes the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th century member of the Royal African Company, a London-based trading company that traded with Africa. This trade included that of enslaved Africans.