12 December 2023
The battle for reparations for the illegal trafficking, torture, murder and exploitation of enslaved Africans during Britain’s slave-trading era is gaining traction. Influential organisations, institutions, and individual families have acknowledged their guilt and have offered to pay financial compensation.
Robert Beckford will argue that, while those who have diligently campaigned for reparations for over half a century welcome these developments, they should also be cautious.
His presentation will identify three areas of immediate concern. These are ‘miscalculation’ of the debt,’ the ‘erasure of Black campaign history’ and ‘hegemonic control of the compensation narrative.’
The lecture will also consider an alternative programme for meaningful restorative justice based on ‘liberative ethics,’ ‘constructive engagement’, and ‘historiographies of the underside.’
This event forms part of the Manchester Lit & Phil’s programme of events following the publication of the Report by researchers from the University of Central Lancashire’s Institute for Black Atlantic Research: ‘The Manchester Lit & Phil and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1780-1865’.
Professor Robert Beckford
Professor Robert Beckford is an activist scholar, broadcaster and the Professor of Climate and Social Justice at the University of Winchester. He has written eight monographs exploring the interface of theology and Black expressive cultures in Britain, including Decolonising Contemporary Gospel Music Through Praxis: Handsworth Revolution (2023).
Robert is an active member of the reparations movement. He has made two documentary films on this subject and contributed to the most extensive analysis of European culpability with the Slave Trade, The Brattle Report on Reparations (2023). His most recent BBC series critically evaluated the Windrush Generation experience: ‘Windrush: A Family Divided’ (BBC Radio 4, 2023).