Statue of black playwright attacked in same UK city where slave trader's statue was toppled

A statue in England of the Jamaican playwright and actor Alfred Fagon has been attacked with bleach.
Statue of black playwright attacked in same UK city where slave trader's statue was toppled
Fagon was born in Jamaica and was a member of the Windrush generation, coming to England as an 18-year-old in 1955.

A statue in England of the Jamaican playwright and actor Alfred Fagon has been attacked with bleach.

Avon and Somerset Police are investigating the attack on the monument, which was erected in 1987 in the St Pauls area of Bristol.

The incident involved bleach or another corrosive substance being poured on to the bust and is thought to have happened on Tuesday or Wednesday.

It comes after Black Lives Matter anti-racism protesters tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on Sunday.

Fagon was born in Jamaica and was a member of the Windrush generation, coming to England as an 18-year-old in 1955.

He settled in Bristol, where he forged a career first as a renowned actor in the 1960s and 70s, and then as a playwright and theatre director.

One of his first plays, No Soldiers in St Pauls, explored the social tension between the police and the black community in Bristol in the 70s.

He died of a heart attack outside his flat in London in 1986.

According to the BBC, police claimed after his death that they could not identify him, resulting in him being given a pauper's funeral.

The statue was erected on the first anniversary of his death, and he was the first black person to have a statue erected in their honour in the city.

The annual Alfred Fagon Award was named after him and is for playwrights of Caribbean or African descent, resident in the UK.

A police spokeswoman said officers in St Pauls were appealing for witnesses to the vandalism.

“The incident, which seems to have left the statue covered with an unknown substance, had not previously been reported to police,” she said.

“It’s not clear when it happened but officers have recorded the incident and are making inquiries with Bristol City Council to clarify ownership and establish whether the statue has suffered permanent damage.”

Meanwhile, road signs in Liverpool’s Penny Lane have been vandalised after speculation over whether it was named after a slave trader.

Four signs on the road, made famous by The Beatles song of the same name, were spray-painted over on Friday morning, with the word “racist” painted on the wall above one sign.

By midday, the graffiti had been cleaned off by residents Emmett O’Neill and Lucy Comerford.

One of the signs featured an autograph by Paul McCartney, who signed his name when he visited the area for an episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke in 2018.

A screen placed over the sign to protect the signature meant it was not damaged by the graffiti.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said earlier this week there is no evidence the road is named after slave trader James Penny, explaining its name instead refers to a toll.

The International Slavery Museum, based in the city, said research is being carried out into the origins of the name.

Mr Anderson said he would support moves to rename other buildings and roads in the city that have links to the slave trade.

Responding to a post on Twitter, he said: “We will have a discussion and debate with the black community and others to see what action we should take.”

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