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Statues, Slavery and the Struggle for Equality with David Olusoga, Dawn Butler and Susan Neiman

Will the global antiracism protests that spread after Floyd’s killing peter out – or is this moment different? Will there be lasting change – and if so, what will that look like?

This event has now finished and is available to watch on demand.

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston, who oversaw the enslavement of 84,000 African men, women and children, sits underwater in Bristol harbour. The statue of King Leopold II, whose colonial reign saw millions of people murdered in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been removed by authorities in Antwerp. The streets of American and British cities remain full of protestors. Democrats in the US Congress have authored a bill that would make it easier to discipline and punish racist police officers. And George Floyd, the African American man murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, was buried this week.

So what now? Will the global antiracism protests that spread after Floyd’s killing peter out – or is this moment different? Will there be lasting change – and if so, what will that look like? And what about past wrongs: How should governments deal with the legacy of slavery, institutionalised racism and discrimination? How should society educate citizens about forgotten histories?

To discuss these issues – rooted equally in the past, present and future – Intelligence Squared brings together the prominent historian David Olusoga, Labour MP Dawn Butler, and Susan Neiman, American moral philosopher and author of Learning from the Germans: Confronting Race and the Memory of Evil.

Join the conversation in our live online event and ask your questions to our speakers on Thursday 11 June at 6pm BST.



David Olusoga

Award-winning historian, writer and broadcaster

Award-winning historian, writer and broadcaster. His book, Black and British: A Forgotten History, was accompanied by a BBC 2 documentary series of the same name.

Dawn Butler

British Labour Party politician. Member of Parliament for Brent Central

Dawn Butler is a British Labour Party politician serving as a Member of Parliament for Brent Central since 2015. Butler served as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet from 2017 to 2020 and MP for Brent South from 2005 to 2010.

Susan Neiman

American writer and philosopher, whose new book is Left Is Not Woke

American writer and philosopher. She has written extensively on the juncture between Enlightenment moral philosophy, metaphysics, and politics, both for scholarly audiences and the general public. Slow Fire, a memoir about her life as a Jewish woman in Berlin in the 1980s, won the PEN prize for a first work of non-fiction in 1992. From 1989 to 1995 she was an assistant and associate professor at Yale University, and from 1996 to 2000 she was associate professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University. In 2000 she became director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany. Neiman’s books have been translated into many languages. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaften. Her new book is Left Is Not Woke.  

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Writer and broadcaster

Broadcaster, writer and social advocate. She is author of several books including You Must Be Layla and the acclaimed essay collection Talking About A Revolution.


Speakers are subject to change.