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Glasgow uni plan to make amends after slavery profit past

REVEALED: University of Glasgow (Photo credit: Wikimedia)

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY have announced a new programme of 'reparative justice' to make amends from profiting hundreds of millions from the transatlantic slave trade.

In a year-long report commissioned by the university and co-authored by Prof Simon Newman and Dr Stephen Mullen, they found that the institution benefited directly from the slave trade in Africa and the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries to almost £200m in today’s money.

The Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow report further explores how the University of Glasgow benefitted from racial slavery and the profits it generated and assessed whether or not gift from donors were ‘tainted’ by slavery.

The research identified 16 bursaries, endowments and other gifts donated between 1809 and 1937 with direct links to profits from slavery.

As a result of the study and its findings, the university will create a centre for the study of slavery and has agreed to add a memorial or tribute at the university in the name of the enslaved.

Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “This report has been an important undertaking and commitment to find out if the university benefited from slavery in the past. Although the university never owned enslaved people or traded in the goods they produced, it is now clear we received significant financial support from people whose wealth came from slavery.”

Co-author Newman said “The University of Glasgow is an institution that grew in a city tied to the trade in tobacco, sugar and cotton, all of which were initially produced by enslaved Africans. Launching an in-depth investigation to look at how the university might have benefited from the profits of racial slavery was, in my opinion, a brave decision. But it is a decision rooted in the core values of an educational institution dedicated to the pursuit of truth and social justice.”

The report has been welcomed by many, including Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, who said: “I celebrate colleagues in Glasgow for taking these first steps and keenly anticipate working through next steps.”

Muscatelli added: “The university has set out a programme of reparative justice through which we will seek to acknowledge this aspect of the university’s past, enhance awareness and understanding of historical slavery.

“The university deeply regrets this association with historical slavery, which clashes with our proud history of support for the abolition of both the slave trade and slavery itself.”

Read the full report here:

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