Originally posted on News One:

Britain slavery ancestry database

LONDON — A new database launched Wednesday lets Britons uncover uncomfortable information: whether their ancestors owned slaves.

SEE ALSO: Rosa Parks Statue Set To Be Unveiled At Capital

Researchers at University College London spent three years compiling a searchable listing of thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their “possessions” when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833.

Some 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds – the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time – after the freeing of slaves in British colonies in the Caribbean, Mauritius, and southern Africa.

Their descendants include writers Graham Greene and George Orwell. Orwell’s real name was Eric Blair, and the trustees of his great-grandfather, Charles Blair, were paid 4,442 pounds for 218 slaves on a plantation in Jamaica.

Research associate Keith McClelland said the project would help…

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Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

Freedom

Today the much-anticipated records that detail just how much the trade in humans benefited the UK will be made public, Catherine Hall reports for London’s Guardian.

Forgetting the violence, pain and shame that is an inevitable part of any country’s historical record is a critical aspect of a nation’s history. This disavowal of the past is an active process: forgetting Mau Mau, for example, and the brutality of the British response to it was done deliberately by occluding the archival record; it was only revealed by the patient work of determined survivors and dedicated historians.

Forgetting Britain’s role in the slave trade began as soon as the trade was abolished in 1807. The abolitionist Thomas Clarkson‘s celebrated history of the campaign to end slavery focused on the work of white humanitarian men and their role in building a successful movement. He neglected not only the activism of…

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Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

HaitiChloera1-20101117c

“Haiti: Jamaica’s Embarrassment” is the title of a recent article by Dr. Orville Taylor, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of the West Indies-Mona. Here, he writes about cultural similarities, shared histories and experiences, and the stigma and injustices suffered by Haitians at the hands of other Caribbean peoples.

It might sound like the Jamaicanised pronunciation of the number which comes after 79, but Haiti is a historical enigma and its people are a worthy of respect, dignity and even our admiration. This is the last week in Black History Month, and it is ironic that in the 28 days given to us to come to an understanding of ourselves, we have figuratively and literally missed the boat regarding the first nation in modern history to have a black government. The Haitians are not as far from us as one thinks. It is a different experience when one…

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Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

slave

When the United Kingdom abolished slavery in 1833, the government of the day paid out £20m in compensation — not to slaves, but to their owners. What happened next to that money has been tracked by a team of historians from UCL, whose new site, Legacies of British Slave Ownership, launched today, as Ian Steadman reports for the UK’s Wired site.

Building upon the work of historian Nick Draper — who spent three years researching the name of every slave owner in the British Caribbean at the time of slavery’s abolition — the UCL team have spent another three years following the money from the point of compensation. The hope is to shed light on the real impact of slavery on the history of the UK in all spheres of life, seeing the immediate impacts on the physical, cultural, artistic, political and other effects of that money.

Speaking to…

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Can One Billion Rising End Violence Against Women?

Many Caribbean countries participated in the global One Billion Rising campaign. You can view photos from the events across the region and even add yours to the pool.

Barbados held two events:  One at the Cave Hill campus on the University of the West Indies which focused on sexual violence since three Caribbean countries are in the top 10 globally for rates of reported rape.  The other took place in the capital and featured collaboration among many women’s organisations, artists and UN WOMEN. The Bridgetown gained significant publicity in the mainstream media, particularly radio and press.  The following letter to the editor details the UWI event which was hosted by the Institute for Gender & Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit.

Barbados might be interested to know that the UWI Cave Hill Campus also held a significant One Billion Rising event that mainly targeted students, but also involved staff in the audience and as performers.

I write this letter and hope it is published because of what emerged. Female students at the campus routinely face harassment, sometimes physical, on ZR vehicles. Some also continue to face the problem of voyeurism (peeping toms) in some private residences around campus. Obviously this is unacceptable.

The Cave Hill campus administration does what it can from what I can see, including establishing protocols and addressing safety issues. In fact, the event was hosted by the university’s Institute for Gender and Development Studies – Nita Barrow Unit as a means of gathering just such data.

Students testified, a Guild of students spokesman informed that the Guild’s position was zero tolerance on campus and off, one male students spoke touchingly of the solidarity he feels his colleagues should express to prevent not only physical but also emotional abuse of young women.

Staff members and students performed poetry and sang songs relevant to the theme of rejection of violence in all its forms, and the need for the embrace of more loving, respectful and self-respecting behaviours by men and women singly and collectively. One staff member spoke of the fact young men are themselves victims of sexual violence by other men, and this underscores the evident necessity for men to strongly support the eradication of this scourge.

Violence against women is a feature of vulnerability, especially when men congregate in even temporary gangs.

It is good to see the solidarity your paper offers in highlighting these issues. I certainly ask our community of ZR drivers, conductors, owners and the owners of private residences around the campus to join you in that solidarity and put measures in place to secure the young women using their services. It is just the right thing to do.

– Margaret D. Gill

Source: This article originally appeared in the Barbados  as a letter to the editor.

Guyana also hosted a significant One Billion Rising event in which many women’s organisations participated. There were events in St. Lucia, Grenada and Antigua as well.

A recent comment on the CODE RED blog called into question the political strategies of the One Billion Rising Campaign:

I wish every Feminist initiative, everywhere around the globe, wholehearted success.

But… I have a seeeerious problem with the “Let’s All Dance!” focus for the “One Billion Rising” event. Could someone tell me WHY – and in a way that makes pellucid sense to me, WHY Women, in their seemingly chronic male-designation as Abuse Fodder, would choose the carefree, spontaneous, *celebratory* act of …dance: to (somehow?!?) symbolize the One Billion Rising initiative?

The whole things seems miscued, somehow; it appears – at least to me, like some desperate psychological “buffer” being enacted by Women globally, to try to distance themselves emotionally from what I have NO FEAR in stating as The Harsh REALITY: i.e., WOMEN’S RIGHTS IS ON A STEADILY DOWNWARD CURVE!

Consequently, to “Dance While Women’s Lives are BURNING TO HELL…smacks oddly of a SIMILAR Roman initiative. Only I think the Ancient used FIDDLES to distract themselves whilst their Home-Space INCINERATED!!!

So – as they say in Showbiz: “Break a Leg!”

 

This Huffing Post article took One Billion Rising to task for a lack of feminist consciousness, a refusal to name the causes of violence against women in favour of feel-good dancing in which everyone could participate and a false notion of sisterhood which perpetuates racist hierarchies.

What do you think? Is One Billion Rising a celebrity-driven, white-feminist-saving-the-Third-World-woman danceathon/mediafest that lacks political edge? Or were local organisers able to “creolise” the One Billion Rising to make it meaningful for their communities as part of wider and ongoing efforts to address violence against women?