Anti-colonial protestor on a post imperial plinth: John Chilembwe in Trafalgar Square - Professor David Killingray

Why are monuments and memorials erected to people, invariably men? Why are many streets named after people from the past?  Who has agency to do this, and how long should monuments, memorials, street and building names remain in place?  When should monuments be taken down or used for another purpose?   These are old questions given new life with recent arguments over Britain’s imperial past and whether monuments to Rhodes and Colston ‘must go’.  This talk will include another point of dissension, the new temporary monument displayed on the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square to John Chilembwe, an African protestor to British colonial rule.  And as part of that ongoing debate, we could consider the merits and otherwise of monuments and memorials in Sevenoaks, or their absence. 

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Event Date 13-11-2024 8:00 pm
Location St Luke's Church Hall


Professor David Killingray

President of Sevenoaks Historical Society, Emeritus Professor of Modern History

David Killingray continues to teach and write on African, Caribbean, imperial, and local history as he did from 1972-2002 at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is an emeritus professor. He is the author of several books on the history of Kent and Sevenoaks, the most recent (with Iain Taylor) Sevenoaks 1790-1914.  Risk and choice in West Kent (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2022), and he has just completed writing a large history of black political activity in twentieth-century Britain: ‘Black Agitator’: Dr Harold Moody and the League of Coloured Peoples.  He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

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