Statues To People Who Set Slaves Free

The global Black Lives matter demonstrations in UK have focussed on statues erected to British philanthropists who grew rich on the back of the slave trade.  The statue of one of these was thrown into the river at Bristol, and Oxford University has promised to remove its stautue of Cecil Rhodes.  There is a backlash against removing statues, however, because, the argument goes, all citizens should know the story of their nation, good and bad. Please add your voice to mine urging that we put up fresh statues, whether alongisde or as replacements for the old. These should include black heroes, but also white heroes who fought against slavery.

William Wilberforce eventually succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire. British tax payers only finished paying in 2015 for the re-imbursement of plantation owners who lost fortunes when their slaves were freed.  Aidan of Lindisfarne used donations to buy white slaves their freedom and offer them jobs and education in the 7th century. Slavery has been practiced  among most countries, and there have been many white slaves.  When Pope Gregory saw Angles boys who had been shipped to Rome to be sold as slaves he said 'Not Angles:- they are Angels'. He was moved to send a Christian mission to the English that would bring an end to this slave traffic by changing hearts.

So think through whether you can get your village, church or town to erect a statue to Aidan, William or a recent black hero.

 

VWhy reduce the issue to removing unacceptable statues? Why not put up statues not only to black heroes but to white heroes like William Wilberforce who abolished slavery, and to Aidan of Lindisfarne who bought 7th c white Anglian slaves their freedom?

 

Posted at 20:55pm on 18th June 2020
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