1st black female historian to study Bristol’s slavery roots

The University of Bristol appoints a black female history professor to look into the city’s slavery roots.

First-ever black female historian

The University of Bristol appoints the first-ever black female historian to overlook the research regarding Bristol’s slavery links.

Olivette Otele is making history herself by being the first-ever black female historian in Bristol. She will be assigned to the university’s history department and the Center of  Black humanities. A friendly group of staff, students, and even Bristol’s community will help Otele dig deeper into the city’s slavery roots data.

Otele took her professorship and history chair position from Bath Spa University in 2018. The black female historian’s research was about legacies of the colonial past and the negligence in addressing the issue.

Appointing Otele in a special topic like slavery presents a great opportunity for history to be well-studied and paid attention to.

The slavery research will last for two years, it will dig into Bristol’s connection to the transatlantic slave trade.

Based on current history data, Bristol took part in the slave trade way back in 1698. But there are claims that Bristolian ships were already taking part in the illegal slave trade earlier than what was indicated in history books. Between 1698 to 1807, more than 500,000 people from Africa were sold to slave labor in the Americas. Bristol ships arranged around 2000 slaving voyages to make this slave trades happen.

Upon Otele’s appointment she mentioned:

I want to be seen as a facilitator on finding proof that the city of Bristol had an important contribution in the transatlantic slave trade. I aim to produce a detailed research about the history of enslavement which will help the university and the community understand the city’s slavery history even more.

Credentials wise, Otele holds a Ph.D. in history from Sorbonne University in France, major in transnational history. Her specialty is in linking history with collective memory and geopolitics related to British and French colonial roots.

The University of Bristol along with its officials, staff, students, and local communities are excited and looking forward to Professor Otele’s study.

Having a clear view of the past helps us shape our future