‘Triptych’ A poem by Marvin Thompson – Slaver Captain Phillips of Brecon (1693-1694)

A Poem by Marvin Thompson

On the weekend of 7-9 June 2020 the Brecon plaque to a slave trading captain was stripped from the wall on which it was erected in 2010. Poet Marvin Thompson was inspired to write the following poem: On the Anniversary of the death of George Floyd: Dear Brecon Town Council, A mouth drying to mud, tightening lungs and eyes on the edge of tears: that was the reaction of my Black British body when, on this wind-lash of a lockdown morning, I read who you class as a role model for my Welsh, Mixed […]

The Hannibal Slave-Ship

  In 1693 the Royal African Company captain Thomas Phillips from Brecon, Wales set sail in the Hannibal from Gravesend to West Africa to purchase enslaved African people to be sold in Barbados. The journey was a disaster. 328 of his African captives died during the voyage, a horrific mortality rate of 47%. In 2018, while researching for the book Nautical Women, (BRHG, 2019), it was discovered that Brecon Town Council had erected a plaque to Phillips in 2010 without reference to his role in […]

Update – Brecon plaque commemorates slave trader

Should society memorialise a slave trader?

In the Welsh town of Brecon, upon an old wall, along Captains Walk (a name based on a fiction), is a slate plaque commemorating the life of a slave trader who resided in the town. The plaque was commissioned by Brecon Town Councillors in 2009, erected in October 2010 (during Black History Month), and makes no reference to the fact that Captain Phillips was a 17th century slaver. Captain Thomas Phillips was the commander of the infamous slave ship the Hannibal in the 1690s. He was directly […]