Slavery and Bristol

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Slavery And Bristol by the acclaimed historian G. M. Best is a major account of Bristol’s role in the trading of slaves. This 466-page hardback title features approximately 500 archive images and illustrations. The book is broken down into five sections.

 Section one: A brief history of how most societies have chosen to embrace slavery, how Europeans became increasingly involved in enslaving Africans, and Bristol’s early connections with the slave trade up to 1700, including the role of the Merchant Venturers.

Section two: A first-hand and at times harrowing account of what it was like to be enslaved, written in 1796 by Olaudah Equiano. This courageous African refused to become a victim of the trade, achieved his freedom, and became the leader of the Sons of Africa to campaign against slavery.

Section three: Bristol’s so-called ‘golden age’ in the eighteenth century when it was at the forefront of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. Included are chapters on the Bristol slave traders, including one entirely on Edward Colston.

Section four: How a dedicated group of individuals fought for the abolition of slavery and the struggle that generated in Bristol. This section shows how it is possible for right-minded individuals and even those with flaws in their characters to make a difference to the world in which we live.

The final section shows how slavery survived its abolition and generated a racism that is still far too prevalent. It examines events such as the Bristol Bus Boycott, the St Paul’s riots and, most recently, the Black Lives Matter protest.

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