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Univ. removes dolphin from logo because it belonged to slave trader 300+ years ago

A university in the UK is excising a dolphin emblem from its school logo because it belonged to a slave trader who died two centuries before the university was even founded.

The University of Bristol dolphin emblem belonged to Edward Colston, whose wealth derived from the slave trade but eventually was bequeathed to “schools, almshouses, churches and hospitals” in the town of Bristol.

The school’s logo (pictured) was created twenty years ago and is based on Bristol’s 1909 foundational coat of arms, the Independent reports.

A statute of Colston was toppled three years ago during a Black Lives Matter protest.

U. Bristol President Evelyn Welch announced the emblem removal on November 28 while also apologizing “to those who had experienced racism” at the school.

The emblems of two other families — the Wills (sun) and Frys (horse) — will remain on the logo as those individuals “did not own or traffic” in slaves. However, they did profit from products connected to slavery such as tobacco, sugar and cocoa, and the university will work to “ensure the full stories of [its] origins, both positive and negative, are made more visible,” a school spokesman said.

The Wills and Frys names also will remain on campus buildings as they “helped found the university in the early 20th century through substantial financial gifts,” the spokesman added.

MORE: College removes ‘colony’ name from dorm over term’s loose connection to slavery

U. Bristol will engage in a new ten million-pound initiative called “Reparative Futures” to “address racial injustice and inequalities internally and in local communities [the university] works with.”

From the story:

Reparative Futures will build on a number of initiatives the university has invested in over the past few years, such as the Black Scholarships Scheme.

A community fund will be created for proposals from local groups to work with Bristol University staff on education and research initiatives to tackle educational, health and economic inequalities.

Partners and experts from ethnically diverse communities will be appointed to support Reparative Futures, the university said. …

“Throughout, I heard many distressing stories from those who had experienced racism and racist behaviours while engaging with, working at, or studying at the University of Bristol,” Prof Welch said.

“What began as a consultation on our history and building renaming became a powerful platform to expose deep hurt and frustration with our slow progress and commitment to racial equity.”

Colston’s dolphin met the same fate as Robert E. Lee’s horse; this past summer Virginia’s Washington & Lee University removed a building plaque which had honored the Confederate general’s steed Traveller.

MORE: Johns Hopkins to scrub name of English professorship due to slavery link

IMAGE: Wikipedia Commons

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.