Britain Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Empire Windrush migrants arrive at Tilbury in 1948.

‘There were Africans in Britain before the English came here’

By | Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

How Staying Power shook British history. When it was published in 1984 Staying Power vividly captured the struggle for black British identity. Nearly 35 years on it still has lessons to teach. By Gary Younge, The Guardian — “The very serious function of racism is distraction,” Toni Morrison argued in a lecture in Portland, Oregon, in 1975: It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and…

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‘A reparative justice programme’ … Glasgow University has completed a two-year review of how it grew wealthy from the slave trade. Photograph: University of Glasgow

Reparations for slavery are not about punishing children for parents’ sins

By | Editors' Choice, Reparations

Reparative justice, whereby communities are compensated for losses caused by the slavery or the Holocaust, is morally fair. By Julian Baggini, The Guardian — Justice requires a good memory, one that is both accurate and not self-servingly selective. But whether it is well-served by a long memory is more contentious. We know that many still pay the price for sins previous generations never paid for. But most agree with the…

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Picture courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

£9.2 trillion drained from India during British rule, economist finds

By | Commentaries/Opinions

“The modern capitalist world would not exist without colonialism and the drain,” says Indian economist Utsa Patnaik By Sean Bell, Common Space — BRITAIN impoverished India over the course of its colonial rule by a staggering £9.2 trillion, laying the groundwork for modern international capitalism and holding back present-day India’s ability to escape poverty, a leading Indian economist has claimed. Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Economic…

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Imperial Federation Map of the World showing the extent of the British Empire. The Empire in red in 1886, by Walter Crane

British Empire is still being whitewashed by the school curriculum – historian on why this must change

By | Editors' Choice

By Deana Heath, The Conversation — Jeremy Corbyn has recently proposed that British school children should be taught about the history of the realities of British imperialism and colonialism. This would include the history of people of colour as components of, and contributors to, the British nation-state – rather than simply as enslaved victims of it. As Corbyn rightly noted: “Black history is British history” – and hence its study should be…

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London University Calls for £100m Slavery Reparation

By | Reparations

Universities in the UK which benefited in previous centuries from the slave trade should contribute to a £100m fund to support ethnic minority students, says a university leader. By Sean Coughlan, BBC News — Geoff Thompson, chair of governors of the University of East London, says it would be “ethical and right” for universities to contribute. He says it would help young people who otherwise could not afford to graduate. Last…

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19th Century illustration of British massacres in India

An empire bathed in blood: when Britannia ruled the waves

By | Reparations

In a desperate bid to head off a Scottish Yes vote, David Cameron evoked a mythical British Empire that had given democracy to the poor and freedom to the slaves. Here Ken Olende looks back at what life was really like when Britannia ruled the waves. By The Socialist Worker — The British Empire was the largest ever known. It covered a quarter of the world’s land mass and ruled…

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Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador to the US and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own.

The Black must be discharged!

By | Commentaries/Opinions

By Sir Ronald Sanders, Caribbean News Now! — Racism was the bedrock of European colonialism in the Caribbean. The subjugation, oppression and exploitation of African people as ‘sub-human’ was justified by colonial powers based on race and colour. A crucial fixture of the architecture of racism and oppression in British colonies in the Caribbean was a judicial system that assigned black people to the status of ‘property’. They belonged to…

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Senegalese women walk past a monument to slavery near the Slave house on Goree island 3km off Dakar, Senegal

UN’s Day of Abolition of Slave Trade Comes Amid Ominous Times

By | Reparations

The Transatlantic slave trade is regarded by Pan-Africanists as the Maafa, a Swahili term meaning “great disaster.” By teleSur — Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition as decreed by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or Unesco. Its purpose is to pay homage to those who were enslaved for hundreds of years as part of European colonization…

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Young woman at a student protest in London against fees and cuts in 2010

The Black Studies Movement in Britain

By | News & Current Affairs

By Kehinde Andrews, Black Perspectives — In 1967, the Afro-Caribbean Self-Help Organisation (ACSHO), based in Birmingham, started one of the first Black supplementary schools in the UK, sparking off a movement that transformed how mainstream schools treated their Black children. Supplementary schools refer to voluntary education programs run by concerned parents, teachers, and community members because of the racism faced in the school system.

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