BRITAIN’S FORGOTTEN SLAVE OWNERS
PROCUDER & DIRECTOR: BEN CHRISTON
DAVID OLUSOGA as Writer and Presenter.
#Prompt# Did this documentary challenge any preconceived notions you had about the subject matter of this film? What were they and where did they stem from?
I barely had any notions before watching this documentary. To be honest I know slavery has existed, and it is still arguable that it still exists today, but I had never thought about it in the way that David Olusoga, the writer of this film, presented it.
When I think of slavery, what comes to mind is usually the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, plus of course the slavery in America. I had never really focused on slavery in Britain and how it must have been even though that I know chunks of enslavement had been there. Neither did I know that the extent to which slavery in Britain had been practiced was as large as the revelation that I got when I watched the film.
I have always known slavery is an evil, that it was horrible, but I had never fully understood its depths. It was the vastness of the archives that shocked me however. The huge number of slave owners around Britain, and how many slaves these owners had.
My team and I did the topic ‘The Trans-Atlantic’ slave trade in my African Philosophical Thought class last year. The experience was great. The lessons enormous. But barely in our research did we come across Britain. Most of the videos and literature we came across was American. So we did not really delve deeper into Britain. Watching this video has however opened my eyes to these realities. Learning that even after the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was abolished, slavery still existed. This gave me insights on themes like Trans-Atlantic slave trade Abolition versus The Abolition of slavery as a whole.
It was also amazing to learn that the slave owners had to be compensated for, but what was even more amusing was the fact that they invested their money in huge national projects, sparking a new wave of development. Which makes me wonder. Were the slave owners/traders inherently aggressive and enterprising? After all, when the slavery was being abolished, they fought. When they were at losing ends, they filed for a compensation and when they got the money, they invested it in even more productive or rewarding activities.
The thirst and drive at which these men ran the country was mesmerizing. They were boisterous, aggressive, and influential. They were powerful. They had an overwhelming thirst for prosperity and wealth. They prospered at everything they did despite the cost. No wonder men like George Hibbert defended slavery as much as they could. It is not surprising that one woman in Jamaica, had to completely devalue her slaves, in order to make it clear to the Royal government that the compensation they were making was not enough whatsoever.
Watch Video Here…