The historian behind the BBC’s new documentary — Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners — tells The Voice why unearthing these stories is so importantHistorians in the News
tags: BBC, documentary
When people complain they are tired of hearing about slavery, historian and BBC broadcaster David Olusoga asks them to do two things: name a British slave owner and name a slave plantation.
Like me, they would generally be stuck for an answer because, actually, the side of the slave trade we know about is the brutality, the inhumanity, images of shackles, and endless days toiling in crop fields in the Deep South and across the Caribbean.
No one generally thinks about the other side of the story: the face at the other end of the whip, so to speak; the beneficiaries of that free backbreaking labour.
It is these characters Olusoga has brought to the fore in his two-part documentary on Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners which reveals the extent to which the country profited from slavery, as well as how common slave ownership was among ordinary members of society, including the clergy and widows. ...