Slavery and slave trade remain some of the biggest atrocities ever committed on black people by the Europeans and Americans. Black slave trade raised enormous profits for the slave owners and this was the money they used to develop their aspects of life, including academics.
Glasgow University noted that it benefited immensely from these profits and as a result of this the institution has decided to commence paying reparations as a way of acknowledging such a dark era in the history of humankind.
The university is raising £20 million in reparations, an act that has been widely regarded as the first from an United Kingdom institution as regards "restorative justice." This money, to be raised and spent in the next coming 20 years, will be for research purposes in collaboration with the University of West Indies. It will be used on setting up and operating the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.
The target of this research centre is to sponsor research in the history of the slavery in the world and to continue shedding more light on the impact that slavery brought to the world and how this is shaping our current dynamics of survival.
At the height of the black slave trade, the profits were so huge that they were used for developing many aspects of life. Glasgow University, during the 18th and 19th centuries, received sponsorship for its academic development mainly from black slave trade profits.
"The University of Glasgow acknowledges that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it received some gifts and bequests from persons who may have benefitted from the proceeds of slavery. Income from such gifts and bequests has been used in supporting academic activity undertaken by the students and staff of the University," reads a statement on their website.
Although the university always distanced itself from the slave trade, maintaining its anti-slavery stance, it is estimated that the money it received from slave profits stands between £16.7 million and £198 million in present day value. That was a lot of money, undoubtedly.
The move by Glasgow University has been lauded as one that is "bold, moral and historic," paving way for other institutions to come to terms with their role in the subjugation of other races throughout the course of history.
It is not a secret that many other institutions in the United Kingdom benefited significantly from the profits brought by slave trade. This is one area in history they need to come clean about.
Header image credit - Atlanta Black Star