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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 20:03 GMT
Viewpoint: David Lascelles
Harewood House
David's house was built with money made from the slave trade

I am not a historian or a politician, but it is clear to me that the legacy of the slave trade is everywhere.

The wealth generated in the early part of the 18th Century through the sugar trade and the slave trade on which it depended underpinned Britain's entire economy.

It paid for the Napoleonic Wars and financed the industrial revolution.

Successful trading interests in the West Indies, India and the Far East became the British Empire of the Victorian era.

I don't think it is much of an exaggeration to say that modern Britain was built on it. We are all implicated in that legacy.

I have found that many black Britons resent being defined simply as being the descendants of slaves.

What about the many black figures in Britain since the 18th century whose roles have been marginalised?

Equiano should stand alongside Wilberforce, Mary Seacole next to Florence Nightingale and so on.




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