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Revisiting slavery 1

One of the world's leading historians of slavery looks at the debate over financial reparations

By James Walvin   April 2007

Whenever I speak in public about slavery and the slave trade, the question of reparations is one of the first from the floor. Ten years ago, the issue was rarely raised. Now the debate is getting louder and more insistent. Like many others, my initial response was to dismiss it. But there is a serious social debate about reparations, especially in the US, which simply can’t be ignored.

The immediate context, of course, is the growing awareness of the history of Atlantic slavery and the slave trade. Here, unusually, is an apparently remote historical episode which not only retains a…

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