Black Actor Alfred Fagon’s Statue Doused In Bleach-Like Liquid In Bristol
In Bristol, a statue dedicated to black actor, poet and playwright Alfred Fagon has been doused in a bleach-like substance, less than a week after a slave trader’s monument was pulled down in the same city.
This news comes after a statue dedicated to 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was torn off its plinth and thrown into the local harbour by Black Lives Matter protesters.
Fagon, a Jamaican actor who last appeared in the BBC’s Fighting Back, was the first black person to have a statue built in their honour in the city. Avon and Somerset Police are currently investigating it as a criminal matter, and are working to ascertain whether the corrosive substance has left permanent damage.
The removal of Colston’s statue sparked a trend for activists, with multiple memorials being defaced or damaged: on a Winston Churchill monument in London, protesters wrote a message branding him a racist, while multiple Christopher Columbus statues across the US have been beheaded or taken down.
Fagon’s sister-in-law, Judy Malone-Fagon, described the vandalism as ‘ignorant and idiotic’. ‘It’s the only statue to a black person in Bristol, who would do something like that? It’s shocking. Alfred didn’t do anything to anyone but he would definitely have laughed at it, he was so much bigger and better than that,’ she told BBC News.
Fagon was born in Jamaica in 1937, later coming to England to work on the railways. After a stint in the army and working as a welder, he began his career in theatre. An early play of his, No Soldiers in St Pauls, explored the tense relationship between police and the black community of Bristol.
Fellow actor and friend Anton Phillips said he wasn’t surprised when Colston’s statue was dumped in the harbour, adding that Fagon ‘quite liked to laugh at things’. ‘So I don’t think he would have been angry, he would have laughed his head off about the absurdity of it and might have written something about it,’ he added.
Following his death from a heart attack in 1986, the Alfred Fagon Award was named after him, which is given to playwrights from the Caribbean or Africa who live in the UK.
Yesterday, June 11, Colston’s statue was recovered from the harbour and placed in a secure location until the city decides where best to put it. Colston’s namesake is spread all across Bristol, from schools to streets – recently, the letters spelling his name atop Colston Tower were partly removed by activists.
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