Laura Trevelyan: My slavery link to MP shows reality of reparations | BBC News

John Dower, Clive Lewis and Laura Trevelyan (left to right) met in Parliament to discuss reparative justice

By Joshua Nevett
BBC Politics

Ex-BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan says it’s possible her family owned Clive Lewis’s ancestors.

In a quiet corridor of the UK parliament, which played a pivotal role in the development and eventual abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, Labour MP Clive Lewis snaps a selfie with two campaigners.
The campaigners are former BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan and her cousin John Dower, who recently apologised to the Caribbean island of Grenada for their family’s historic role in the slave trade.
All smiling broadly, the trio in the photo could be old friends.
But until last month, Ms Trevelyan had no idea there was a British MP who could trace his roots to Grenada, where in the 19th century her family owned more than 1,000 slaves.
“In fact, it’s entirely possible that his ancestors were owned by my ancestors,” said Ms Trevelyan.
“So in that sense, we represent both the pain of Britain’s colonial past but also the promise – as we’re now working together.
“I hope that by the two of us talking about that link, that will show people in Britain and indeed around the world, that this isn’t something that’s abstract.”


Last month, the Trevelyan family agreed to donate more than £100,000 to education projects on the tiny Caribbean island as compensation for its involvement in slavery.

Ms Trevelyan then quit the BBC after 30 years to become a full-time slavery reparations campaigner.

On the day of her family’s apology, she saw that Mr Lewis had stood up in the House of Commons and said he couldn’t find a single statement by a British minister on the issue of reparations.


More: Laura Trevelyan: My slavery link to MP shows reality of reparations

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