An Oxford University college has decided to keep its statue of a Barbados-born slave owner.

All Souls College has dropped the name Christopher Codrington from its library, but has refused to remove its controversial statue.

In a statement published at the end of last year the college said "rather than seek to remove [the statue] the college will investigate further forms of memorialisation and contextualisation within the library, which will draw attention to the presence of enslaved people on the Codrington plantations, and will express the college’s abhorrence of slavery."

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Christopher Codrington, a former fellow of All Souls, died in 1710, leaving a bequest of £10,000 to the college, which unofficially gave his name to its library where the statue stands.

According to the All Souls website, Codrington's wealth was "derived largely from his family’s activities in the West Indies, where they owned plantations worked by enslaved people of African descent."

Oxford Mail:

Protesters in Oxford High Street last year

Campaigners Oxford Common Ground claim Codrington accumulated his wealth from trafficking, which caused "generational trauma not just for their descendants, but for all people of African and Caribbean descent to this day."

The marble statue by Henry Cheere was created in 1734 and shows Codrington in Roman costume.

In a bid to address the issue of the Codrington legacy over the past few years, All Souls has erected a memorial plaque at the entrance to the library in memory of all those enslaved on the Codrington plantations.

It has also pledged £100,000 to the theological Codrington College in Barbados and has set up three funded graduate studentships at Oxford for students from the Caribbean.

The decision at All Souls comes amid growing scrutiny of Oxford’s colonial past.

A commission set up to examine the legacy of the Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College had been due to publish its findings this month but that report has been delayed till mid-March due to the pandemic.

Thousands of protesters staged a demonstration in Oxford High Street in the summer calling for the statue's removal.

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