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Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners doc nominated for top award

NOMINATED: Historian David Olusoga

HISTORIAN DAVID Olusoga’s harrowing BBC documentary about slave owners has been nominated for a Royal Television Society (RTS) Award.

Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, which revealed 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, won critical acclaim when it was screened last year.

The two-part documentary was today (March 3) nominated in the History category at the annual awards ceremony. It will go head to head with Channel 4’s Holocaust: Night Will Fall and Dagrau o Waed: Rhyfel Corea.

Olusoga also earned a nomination in the Best Presenter category.

One of the key findings of Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners was that millions of pounds in compensation was paid to slave owners by the Government as a sweetener when slavery was outlawed in Britain.

The figure would have been billions of pounds by today’s standards.

That these stories have remained buried for so long is no mistake, the Nigerian-born historian told The Voice in an interview last year.

“We know the abolitionists. We know their names but they were involved in a two-way conversation about slavery, because you can’t have an abolition movement without opposition, and that opposition has been forgotten along with the slave owners,” he said.

“They fought a bitter and desperate battle in defence of their industry and in doing so left us with the toxic legacy of much of the racial ideas that we have struggled with for the past 150/200 years.”

He added: “Historians are saying this is part of our history that was deliberately concealed and buried.

“People pretend it didn’t happen. Families involved rewrote their family history as if it didn’t happen but it is part of our history.

The Royal Television Society, or RTS, is a British-based educational charity for the discussion, and analysis of television in all its forms, past, present and future. It is the oldest television society in the world.

The ceremony will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, on March 22.

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