New and previously unseen historical records that audit British involvement in transatlantic enslavement detailing specific amounts paid in compensation to wealthy slave owners, at the time of the abolition of slavery, are to be released online on Wednesday by University College London. This follows an extensive three year research programme led by Dr Nick Draper.
On Wednesday 27th February, Catherine Hall will give a public lecture entitled 'Towards a new past: the legacies of British Slave-ownership' to celebrate the publication of the Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership and the inauguration of our new project, The Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership, 1763-1833. The event will be followed by a demonstration of the Encyclopaedia by Nick Draper and Keith McClelland.
The event will take place at 6pm in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre at University College London and a reception will take place afterwards in the South Cloisters. For directions to the lecture theatre, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/
Why Reparations Matter
BARAC is encouraging people to attend this event. For a long time now various groups have been campaigning for reparations.
2007 marked the Bicentenary of the Act outlawing the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) Race Relations Committee of which I am elected to issued a statement at the annual Black Workers Conference setting out demands for unions to campaign for including a full, formal and sincere apology, full reform of the national schools curriculum to include an honest account of the part that black people played in abolition. At the start of this year I with other activists started a campaign to keep Mary Seacole and Olaudah Equiano who was a key abolitionist to be kept on the national curriculum after the government threatened to remove this. Also a UK National Enslavement Memorial Day to acknowledge all the lives that were taken and pay tribute to black people who fought against enslavement.
The Global Afrikan Congress along with the RMT union have led the campaign in the trade union movement holding an annual reparations conference.
Cameron's Wealth Gained From Enslavement
Amongst those who benefited are Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron. His family received the equivalent of £3 million in today's money in compensation for 202 enslaved African people owned by his family in Jamaica whilst those enslaved received no compensation at all.
Today in Britain Cameron is making savage cuts to jobs, services and communities impacting disproportionately on black workers and families, many of them the descendants of those enslaved, whilst he lives in luxury as a billionaire having benefited from the compensation his family received for their crimes against humanity.
On Saturday the Independent revealed details of the research project in this report .
Co-chair of BARAC Lee Jasper set out why reparations are important and necessary:Mr Cameron, Prime Minister, Where Are My Forty Acres and a Mule
You can watch a youtube video about the research project :
Whilst government cuts drive black people in the UK into deeper poverty and deprivation and many of the wealthiest people in the UK have directly benefited and built their wealth off the backs of enslaved black people reparations are long overdue. BARAC UK plan to organise an event in Parliament in conjunction with organisations campaigning for reparations in the near future.
Co-Chair BARAC UK