BBC news presenter Laura Trevelyan is leaving the company to campaign for more reparations in the Caribbean
A BBC presenter whose family paid slavery reparations has left the network to lobby for more payments to the Caribbean.
Laura Trevelyan, 54, announced in February that her family would be donating £100,000 to help community projects in Grenada to help balance their slave stocks on the island.
Ms Trevelyan said she is leaving the BBC to become a “roving advocate” for redress. She said she will support campaigns aimed at securing apologies and financial redress from former colonial powers.
The British journalist, who lives in the US, said she will work with figures such as Clive Lewis, the Labor MP who this month called on the Prime Minister to start negotiations with Caribbean leaders over paying reparations for Britain’s role in slavery .
Ms Trevelyan, who starred in last year’s documentary Grenada: Confronting the Past, told The Daily Telegraph now is a good time to work. She said: “The king’s coronation and his statements of willingness to speak about the legacy of slavery provide an opening for a broader discussion.”
Laura Trevelyan, 54, announced in February her family would be donating £100,000 to help community projects in Grenada to help balance their slave stocks on the island. Picture at right: Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, the English officer in charge of famine relief when half a million people were killed by outbreaks of potato blight in the 1840s and 1850s
A tweet posted on March 14 by Laura Trevelyan thanking journalist Paul Royall for his announcement
In addition to the broader campaign work, she will also “work with families in similar positions to the Trevelyans, with ancestors who owned slaves in the Caribbean and want to make amends.”
The Caribbean Community (Caricom), an intergovernmental organization for Caribbean countries, has recently sought to secure payments and debt relief from former European colonial powers.
Ms Trevelyan said her future work would include “advocating for Caricom’s restorative justice agenda”.
In February, Ms Trevelyan’s family were challenged over her ancestor’s role in the Irish famine after she apologized and made the donation to Grenada.
Ms Trevelyan, whose aristocratic relatives had more than 1,000 slaves on six sugar plantations on the Caribbean island in the 19th century, said her family apologizes “for the role our ancestors played in enslavement”.
Irish writer Katherine Mezzacappa praised the announcement but asked if she had learned anything about her great-grandfather of four, Sir Charles Trevelyan – the English official in charge of famine relief when potato blight outbreaks killed half a million people in the 1840s and 1850s.
Ms Trevelyan said she is leaving the BBC to become a “roving advocate” for redress. She said she will support campaigns aimed at securing apologies and financial redress from former colonial powers
Taking the pulse of a sick Irish emigrant aboard a ship bound for North America during the potato famine of the 1840s
The 1st Baronet is commemorated in the Irish anthem The Fields of Athenry, which tells the story of a fictional man who “stole Trevelyan’s corn” – a reference to food being exported from Ireland while millions were starving.
Ms Mezzacappa later told The Times: “I am very encouraged by Laura Trevelyan’s intentions regarding her involvement in slavery by her ancestors, but have raised Charles Trevelyan’s issue because of the curious discrepancy between the history of Englishmen taught in Britain and what they have done similarly elsewhere requires attention. In the case of Ireland, Trevelyan is just one case; Walter Raleigh and of course Oliver Cromwell are others.
‘As you probably know, there was no decline in the years of famine in the export of Irish corn to England, which The Fields of Athenry even calls ‘Trevelyan’s corn’, but perhaps what is astonishing about Trevelyan’s inaction is his professed belief in Irish Tenants had brought the misfortune of famine upon themselves.’
At the time, many members of the British intelligentsia believed that the Irish were partly to blame for their own suffering because of perceived flaws in national character – based on long-established stereotypes – and their high birth rate.
Inadequate support from London is blamed for increasing the death toll from the famine, which also prompted an estimated two million Irish to emigrate.
Sir Charles is notorious for saying that “the judgment of God sent calamity to teach the Irish a lesson”.
Ms Trevelyan announced that seven family members would travel to Grenada in February to make a public apology.
A portrait of Sir John Trevelyan with his wife Louisa Simon (the couple in the centre), who owned more than 1,000 slaves in Grenada
She told the BBC her ancestors received about £34,000 in compensation for the loss of “property” in 1834 – the year after slavery was abolished in Britain.
This equates to around £3 million today.
Ms Trevelyan acknowledged that giving £100,000 almost 200 years later might seem “inappropriate” but said: “I hope we set an example.”
She visited Grenada for a documentary last year and said: “I felt ashamed and I also felt that it was my duty.
“You can’t fix the past, but you can acknowledge the pain.”
Historian David Olusoga told The Observer, “While governments stubbornly refuse to acquiesce to the growing demands for reparations … there are families, corporations, universities, charities and other organizations that recognize their historical links to slavery and empire.”
But Alan Smithers of the University of Buckingham said: “These are days gone and it’s not a path I think we should go down.”
He said the reparations offered were a “drop in the bucket” and risked “making higher demands on other countries around the world that engage in the slave trade.”
A statue of William Gladstone has been removed from outside a church in Merseyside because of his links to slavery.
The former Prime Minister’s wealthy father, Sir John Gladstone, used slaves on his Caribbean sugar plantations.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool said the statue at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church had been removed because questions had been asked about its “suitability”, but said no decision had been made about its long-term future.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/bbc-news-anchor-laura-trevelyan-quits-corporation-to-campaign-for-more-caribbean-reparations/ BBC news presenter Laura Trevelyan is leaving the company to campaign for more reparations in the Caribbean