Statues Of Black Figures In London Finally Given Historic Grade II Listed Status

To celebrate the BBC's Black and British season, the government has finally given listed status to several statues depicting black people in London

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Queen Victoria.

Shakespeare.

Boadicea.

Winston Churchill.

What do these notable British figures have in common, other than deriving from the UK, being notable historic giants and having been exonerated in statue form with listed status?

They're white.

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Fortunately the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has leveled the playing field somewhat by, for the first time, giving equal listed status to bronze figures of black people around London, thanks to the advice of the government heritage body, Historic England.

Commissioned in 1986 by British Rail, artist Kevin Atherton created sculptural depictions of black British people in the UK – which still stand at Brixton railway station today – to represent the local community, following several devastating riots throughout the town during the 1980s.

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Called 'Platforms Piece', the statues are one of three new black history listings – including Ian Walters' bust of Nelson Mandela on London's South Bank – announced by the government as part of its contribution to the BBC's Black and British season this month.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: 'Today's announcement is part of the work we have been doing to recognise and explore the rich diversity that has been part of our national story for so many centuries.

'We want to make sure that we celebrate historic places, everyone, regardless of gender, race or orientation, sees their places represented – places that resonate for them and represent the history of this country as they see it,' he added.

It's important to remember that we only represent the UK when every member of society is represented.

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