African images in British Heraldry

Mon, 22 March 2021 18:30 – 20:00 GMT

Heraldry is on our street signs, school blazers, church windows and even football shirts. This talk exposes the African presence since 1600s

Already this year, inspired by the tearing down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol, buildings and towns in the UK have abandoned their coats of arms because they depict enslaved Africans. Heraldry, the use of coats of arms often thought of as archaic, still surrounds us in the 21st century. Heraldry is on our street signs, school blazers, church windows and even football club uniforms. It forms a visual language of symbols and signs that surrounds us in the contemporary built environment.

In this talk, Kelly Foster will examine how race, colonialism and enslavement have been depicted in English heraldry. From the four African men who have looked out over the River Thames from the rooftops of Lambeth Palace since the 1600s to the recent controversies surrounding the medal of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George which Caribbean diplomats have demanded be changed. Sometimes heraldry is called the ‘the shorthand of history.’ And like much of British history the presence of Africans has been ignored and dismissed. We take an up-close look to recover those histories.

This online talk by public historian Kelly Foster will explore her research into the heraldry of Archbishop Juxon and discuss the presence and representation of Africans in the early 1600s. In addition to looking at how Africans and people of African ancestry are using heraldry today.

This is an online zoom lecture delivered at 6.30pm UK time. Zoom link will be sent 45 minutes in advance of the event please check your JUNK MAIL

About the speaker

Kelly Foster is a public historian, working both online and “on road” as a London Blue Badge Guide specialising in community history. She uses oral histories and archival research to deliver tours that delve into the social history of London’s neighbourhoods. She works with both visitors and residents alike to give a deeper, more inclusive understanding of London’s past and the ever-changing 21st century city. Kelly regularly works with Black Cultural Archives, Lambeth Archive

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