The Brits are rediscovering the links between slavery and capitalist finance. A small team of researchers with the University College London is making a list of every British company that had historic links with the slave trade. They were interviewed on Marketplace. Some of their results—including the role of Nathan Mayer Rothschild and James William Freshfield—were recently discussed in the Financial Times. (Among the institutions that have apologized for their predecessors’ role in the slave trade is Wachovia Bank, which has “set up a programme offering $1bn in loans for black car dealerships”!)
And there’s a new exhibition, “London, Sugar & Slavery,” at the Museum of London in Docklands. According to Colin Prescod, Chair of the Institute of Race Relations
and advisor on the gallery,
Over some three centuries, transatlantic slavery and the associated ‘triangle trade’ generated extraordinary profit, amassed unimaginable wealth, and spawned obscenely inhumane brutalities on a massive scale. Museum in Docklands’ bold new gallery demonstrates that these events were pivotal in the history of London’s and Britain’s rise to world dominance, and that they bequeathed a discomfiting legacy in a complex heritage.