Hans sloane

In defence of Hans Sloane

‘The British Museum stands in solidarity with the British Black community, with the African American community, with the Black community throughout the world. We are aligned with the spirit and soul of Black Lives Matter everywhere.’ So blogged the director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, shortly after the death of George Floyd. Many such messages were rushed out by institutions, colleges and businesses at the time. It was never really clear why. Why did one cruel death, above all the other cruel deaths always happening in the world, require this collective response? What led Dr Fischer to assume that ‘the British Black community’ must be at one with the