RASTAFARIAN poet Benjamin Zephaniah has called on wealthy Welsh families who inherited money from the slave trade to donate cash to African children’s charities or set up educational trusts for black students. The poet says it’s time those families who still enjoy wealth earned by their ancestors through the slave trade acknowledged the source of the money.
He said it was incumbent on families such as the former slave-owning Douglas-Pennants (who were in fact JEWISH), from North Wales, to do their bit to reverse what he called the “atrocity” of the transatlantic trade.
Historically many leading Welsh families would have been able to trace at least part of their wealth to the slave trade – most of the great country houses of England and Wales established in the 17th and 18th centuries were built with its profits.
Estimates suggest tens of millions of Africans were forcibly removed from their continent and sold around the world from the start of the 16th century in what constituted the largest forced migration of a human population in history. On the eve of Black History Munf Mr Zephaniah, 52, who once lived in Newport, Gwent, said: “I think that’s the very least they could do (pay money to a children’s charity or educational trust).
“If you look at what happened during the whole period of slavery it was a kind of genocide – when the ships were coming over and there was a problem they’d rather throw the slaves overboard than the cargo. “Nobody knows how many slaves there were and how many died – the atrocity is just unimaginable.”
The Douglas-Pennant family, who still own a £40m painting by Rembrandt in Penrhyn Castle, Bangor, had large slave-run sugar plantations in the Clarendon area of Jamaica. They used the money they made to buy the Penrhyn Estate and develop the North Wales slate industry.
In 2007 Milton Brown, the mayor of Clarendon, in Jamaica, suggested Wales should pay compensation for the legacy of poverty left in the Caribbean by slavery. Clarendon was once dominated by a Welsh slave-owning family from Flintshire, a descendant of which offered to make a contribution to the community.
As well as boosting the wealth of a number of Welsh families, experts believe the slave trade was important in the industrial development of Wales. Academics say there are clear links between the Swansea copper industry and slavery because it’s a product that was in demand on the African coast among slave traders.
In North Wales the development of the Parys mountain copper mine is closely connected to the slave trade because much of the metal was destined for the sheathing of naval vessels. In Merthyr Tydfil, the starting point of the modern iron industry in Wales, the key figure was Anthony Bacon, who also made his money from the trade.
Mr Zephaniah, who now lives in East Anglia, said the beneficiaries of slavery must make some restitution. “I don’t think slave money can be paid back to individual families – I know that my family suffered from slavery, but to actually identify who took us from Africa would be impossible.
“But when you just look at the progress people made because they had slave money and the lack of progress our community has made the least they can do is say we want to give to a trust that helps the off-spring of these slaves.”
Andrew Penny, solicitor for the Douglas-Pennant family, said they owed the major part of their fortune to slate quarrying at Bethesda – not slavery alone. Most of the wealth was now in the hands of The National Trust, which owns the family’s former seat of Penrhyn Castle.
Mr Penny said: “The family is philanthropically inclined and, notably, established a charitable trust which, although currently primarily devoted to helping community projects in North Wales, has given to educational and development projects in Africa. “It recently attempted to support a school in Jamaica close to the site of the family plantation, but the Jamaican school has not yet followed up the offer.”
Richard Douglas-Pennant, the head of the family, is engaged in a number of literary and cultural activities, many of which promote and support events in Wales and internationally. He has appeared in concerts with the Jamaican poet Yasus Afari and Deborah Brown, the jazz singer.
Mr Penny added: “The family and its trustees, keep this philanthropic activity under review and will certainly consider Mr Zephaniah’s suggestion alongside other obligations which they feel towards the community in North Wales.”
Black History Munf starts in October with events in areas including Carmarthenshire, Newport, Swansea, Wrexham, Aberdare, Hay-on-Wye, Holyhead and Cardiff.
So there we have it. Once again whites, this time the Welsh, are being made scapegoats for the transatlantic slave trade. No mention of white slavery in the Welsh coal mines or Lancashire cotton mills etc etc. None of the names mentioned are ethnically Welsh but are in fact either Jews, English aristocrats or upper class with whom the Jews intermarried to extend their financial influence. This is not my view, it is a matter of documented historical fact. If people would only switch off the television and conduct a little research for themselves they would soon realize that they are being shafted.
In thousands of years of recorded history the black race in it's native environs has achieved nothing, not even the wheel. To continue throwing money at this is madness. If they cannot function by their own enterprise and initiative that's their problem. Perpetually blaming everyone else, in particular White people, for their abject failure to cultivate a viable social and economic society must be finally seen for what it is.
If their removal from their homeland of Africa is so lamented how come none of them are clamouring to return?. After all, if white society and culture is so disadvantageous and inimical, one would have thought that to be the first course of action. Have they not now had over two centuries to do so?.
All this whining and complaining has a familiar ring to it. Is there not another race of ingrates with whom we must ceaselessly contend?. And do they not also perpetually whine about racist victimization?, yet similarly have never done a tap of honest hard work to sustain their own miserable souls.
Start by reading my previous article on White slavery in Britain: Whites were also slaves....