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Glasgow University Pledges to Raise Millions for Slavery Victims

Glasgow University Pledges to Raise Millions for Slavery Victims

Tuesday, 27 August, 2019 - 06:15
Protesters hold a banner reading 'no to slavery' during a demonstration against discrimination in Mauritania's capital Nouakchott in 2015. AFP.

The historical sandstone building of the Glasgow University is located on lands that once belonged to a family of West Indian tobacco merchants who exploited slaves in their farms. And among the university's presidents was Robert Cunninghame Graham who owned and sold slaves in his Jamaican farm in the 18th century.

According to BBC, the university considered among the oldest in Britain, has recently acknowledged its ties with old donors that benefited from slave trade, and promised to raise 20 million sterling pounds (over $24.5 million) over the next 20 years, for studies and research on slavery around the world.

Chief operating officer of the University of Glasgow, Dr. David Duncan said in a phone interview: "We took this step with the spirit of reparative justice. The money collected from donations and grants will not be used to compensate the grandchildren of past slaves, but to sponsor the vast research efforts and academic cooperation in the slavery topic".

For the research, the Glasgow University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of the West Indies (UWI) headquartered in the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean.

The announcement came three years after the Scotland-based University released a report on its links with sides that benefited from slave trade.

The report, published last year, concluded that the university, founded in 1451, received bequests and gifts worth up to £200 million in the 18th and 19th centuries from people involved in slave trade. The report is the first of its kind in Britain, according to the statement.

The report authors recommended raising awareness about the university's historical links to slavery, and undertaking forward-looking measures, including scholarships for black, Asian, and other ethnic minorities, establishing a center to study historical slavery, and appointing professors for historical slavery research and reparative justice.

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