Inclusion and Diversity Resources
Sir Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain is often celebrated as the forward-
Joseph Chamberlain’s eight years as Colonial Secretary were dominated by his work to expand British rule in South Africa. Having been divided by the white colonists into separate states (English-
Chamberlain’s decisions helped widen deep divisions in modern South Africa. A stroke in 1906 forced him to retire from politics, but his influence contributed to inequality, such as the Land Act, which prevented black South Africans, except those living in Cape Province, from buying land outside reserves. And later Apartheid, a system of legally institutionalised racial segregation in South Africa.
Like many British cities, Birmingham benefited greatly from imperial exploits, such as the South African gold rush.
Despite his aggressive and racist imperial policy, statues, memorials and street names continue to celebrate Chamberlain. These landmarks belong to all residents of the city and it’s important we foster an open dialogue about what they represent and what they mean to modern, multicultural Birmingham.