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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Robinson

The Educational Value of Statues: In This Case None Whatsoever

I was a student at Bristol University many years ago now. The slave trade was not mentioned at all. Colston was the name on the Colston Hall (which is about to be renamed), where we went to concerts. I've walked past this statue many times. It did not educate me. In fact, it's a deliberate disinformation campaign to cover up the past. He was not a virtuous man of the city. He was a slave trader, who profited from an immoral practice, and caused immense suffering and death. I did not shed any tears when it went into the docks. I was aware that the University was funded by benefactors including the Wills family, who made their money from tobacco, which of course was largely harvested by slave labour in the Americas. You can't miss the Wills family connection, as many of the buildings have their names on them. We need to learn the history, the good with the bad. We don't need to put people like this on pedestals.

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