Keep proper journalism alive. It's time to Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Watch: “Britons never, never have been slaves?”

A backtracked BBC decision earlier this year to not sing the words to Rule Britannia at the Proms kicked off the most recent debate about the song and Britain’s past and present.

Black History Month

Words: Edson Burton

Annotation: Adam Cantwell-Corn
Illustration: Jazz Thompson

At the height of the trans-atlantic slave trade, the patriotic song Rule Brittania was first performed in 1740 to German-born Fredrick, the Prince of Wales, with the key line “Britons never will be slaves”. 

With an increasingly fraught debate about Britain’s history, and the current state of racism and inequality, in this poem Edson Burton uses the song to explore the past and present, and whether in fact Britons themselves have ever been slaves.

Video by Paula Romero, Produced by Priyanka Raval

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?

Comments

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

How St Paul’s residents fought to make the Malcolm X Centre a space for the community

The Malcolm X Centre on Ashley Road is one of Bristol’s most well-known and treasured community venues. What’s less well remembered is the struggle local people went through to lay the foundations for that status.

Listen: The Debrief, digging deeper into revelations of institutional racism at a local NHS trust

Priyanka Raval discusses the inside story of her recent investigation into racism in health services, and what it says about the state of the NHS, with Cable colleague Matty Edwards.

Whistleblowers reveal institutional racism at local NHS trust

A Cable investigation spanning months has uncovered that complaints of institutional racism at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust went unheard, despite promises from management to tackle the issue.

Listen: Cable Live, with Gary Younge talking journalism, race and power

Join the renowned writer, broadcaster and academic for a powerful talk exploring his childhood, journalism career, and how his experiences have shaped his work.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Ruth Pitter on the role of the charity sector, pioneering Black theatre and her recent MBE

Neil chats to Ruth, a daughter of the Windrush generation, on her decades of work with Bristol's voluntary and community groups, how that's changed as public services have been cut – and whether she feels conflicted about receiving an honour associated with empire.

How starting an arts festival helped me find community in Bristol

Grassroots groups have birthed a movement that celebrates and represents people from East and South East Asian communities. It has unleashed a ‘warm, communitarian energy’, writes the co-founder of MOON FEST, which takes place this weekend at the Trinity Centre.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning