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10th January 2022

The book that has moved us most in the last month (we can't say enjoyed, that was Eva Ibbotson's A Countess Below Stairs) is Alex Renton's Blood Legacy, the subject of the Post this week. It's also topical in the light of the wise and calm decision of the Bristol jury in the case of the Colston statue. How can 'we', the descendants of slave traders (because the wealth of places like Bristol and Bath was built upon the about labour of slaves) ever make amends? Or do we just have to try and behave decently by today's standards and tell ourselves that the past is the past? It makes us think of one of our parents, a German refugee, who nevertheless accepted a visiting professorship at Bonn university in the 1950s. Not for him any question of hatred and bearing grudge. No, he tried to start the process of understanding and coming-to-terms (which is different from forgiving and forgetting). So what to do about the fact that every beautiful street in Bath was built with money engendered by the slave trade? This is  

James Graham (1789-1860), Alex Renton’s father's mother's great-grandfather. He had African heritage (perhaps without realising it) but owned two slaves. This was normal. Normalised. So much to think about here. 

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