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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 20:03 GMT
Viewpoint: Patrick Vernon
Slave traders with slaves manacled, chained, in leg irons
Captives aboard slave ships were chained together to save space

The Transatlantic slave trade, like the Holocaust and modern day genocide, was a crime against humanity.

We should, as a nation, formally apologise if we are to call ourselves a civilised country which upholds humanity, equality and restorative justice.

The transatlantic slave trade played a strategic role in the industrial revolution and the economic development of Britain and the formation of the British Empire.

Africa as a continent prior to the transatlantic slave trade was a sophisticated economic, cultural and military civilisation.

African people played a key role in the emancipation and the abolition of the slave trade and slavery and were not simply dependant on one man called William Wilberforce.

The history of resistance and rebellion in plantation and colonial society is part of the national heritage of African and Caribbean nation states and black British history.

The impact of the slave trade still manifests itself in society today and modern day inequality is partially founded upon it; especially in terms of culture, lifestyle, health, educational achievement, family, and gender relationships.

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