Britain's #BLM Statue

There has been a lot of talk, to put it mildly, about Britain’s statues and slavery. But what about Britain’s statues and anti-slavery? It turns out, that, while statues of slavers are among the statues Britain shows off, statues of anti-slavery activists are, in curious contrast, some of the statues Britain hides. To take us into Black History Month in the UK, Dr Coleman asks what, exactly, in its anti-slavery statues, Britain is hiding.

Listen online

Episode 1: Statues They Hide

Download transcript of Episode 1: Statues They Hide (PDF, 1MB)

Episode 2: Back to Plaque?

Download transcript of Episode 2: Back to Plaque? (PDF, 3MB)

Further information about the Birmingham 2007 Children’s March can be found on Birmingham City Council's website (via archive.org) at A Shared History, A Shared Future: March for Justice and Family Discovery Day and in MarcusBelben's YouTube video, Breaking the Chains Birmingham - A Shared History, A Shared Future: March for Justice.

Dedication: Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman would like to dedicate these episodes to the memory of the late Charles W. Mills (1951-2021), Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Episode 3: Sturge Before Scarman

Download transcript of Episode 3, Part 1: Peace and Police (PDF, 2MB)

Download transcript of Episode 3, Part 2: Britain Against Police (PDF, 3MB)

On 30 January 1981, ten months before the Scarman Report into the ‘Brixton Disorders’ was published, the Final Report of the Working Party into Community/Police Relations in Lambeth was published - and promoted at a press conference. By remembering neglected connections between 1981 and 1839, Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, argues that the central claim, of that Final Report, was shared by Joseph Sturge, and was the reason Sturge's statue - Britain’s BLM Statue - was put up.

Dedication: Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman would like to dedicate these episodes "To the siblinghood of my fellow Black Queer/Trans Men, like me living and thriving with HIV, in this, the 40th year of a pandemic that began in 1981. For more information about our siblinghood, visit the House of Rainbow; for more information on the pandemic we survived, listen to We Were Always Here."

About the speaker

Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman is an independent scholar-activist, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, and Public Engagement Co-ordinator for Citizens Researching Together at the University of BristolThey are the incoming Project Director of 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance. Born and based in Birmingham, they are writing a book about our collective memory of the colonial and anti-colonial arguments by which Birmingham built and attempted to abolish British Empire, called The House By the Rivers of Blood.

You can find out more about how they came to write this book on the Reluctant Sites of Memory blog, or listen to them talk about some of the book's themes in De Montford University's YouTube video, Scholar Activism in the UK – Questions of Ethics and Practice.

Monuments Research Season

Every Wednesday throughout September we will present new research around monuments in a variety of forms, ranging from pre-recorded lectures to podcasts and artists films.

Topics will include the relationship between monuments, gender and sexuality, the role of religion and politics, monuments and colonial memory, and artists’ responses to monumentality. All material will be available to access online on our website and YouTube channel.

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