David Starkey loses two university positions after saying slavery didn’t constitute genocide

Cambridge college and Canterbury Christ Church University terminate historian’s positions 

Rory Sullivan
Friday 03 July 2020 14:58 BST
David Starkey claims that slavery 'wasn't genocide' or there 'wouldn't be so many damn blacks'

The historian David Starkey has lost positions at two English universities for his “completely unacceptable” comments that slavery did not constitute genocide because “so many damn blacks” survived.

Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University and Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent terminated Dr Starkey’s honorary fellowship and visiting professorship respectively, following the racist remarks he made in an interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes.

While speaking about the Black Lives Matter protests, the 75-year-old, who specialises in Tudor history, told Mr Grimes: “Slavery was not genocide otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or Britain would there? An awful lot of them survived...”

Fitzwilliam College released a statement on Friday saying that it had accepted his resignation from his honorary fellowship at the institution.

In a statement, the college said: “Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for underrepresented groups. Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”

Earlier this week, Fitzwilliam had called Dr Starkey’s comments “indefensible”, adding that it was considering his position.

Canterbury Christ Church University also acted in response to Dr Starkey's remarks by removing him from his role of visiting professor on Friday.

A university spokesperson told The Independent: “Widely reported comments by historian David Starkey during a recent online interview are, in our view, completely unacceptable and do not reflect our University and community values.

“We have therefore terminated, with immediate effect, Dr Starkey’s Visiting Professorship.”

Following the online interview, the historian has also left his position on the board of the Mary Rose Trust, which oversees the Tudor ship of the same name.

Speaking in response to Dr Starkey's words, the trust said: ”Mary Rose Trust is a charity that exists for the benefit of everyone and we have zero tolerance for such comments.”

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid was among those who criticised the historian for what he said during the interview.

Mr Javid said: “We are the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world and have much to be proud of.

“But David Starkey’s racist comments (‘so many damn blacks’) are a remind of the appalling views that still exist.”

David Olusoga, who has been described by Dr Starkey as “an interesting and quite able historian”, reacted by saying: “This is truly disgusting. And by the same ridiculous, twisted logic the Holocaust would not be counted as a genocide.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in