Cambridge College to create a grant to study links to slavery

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<p><figcaption class=Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

A college at the University of Cambridge is to appoint an academic to study its legacy of slavery.

Trinity College, Cambridge has announced that its new Slavery Legacy Research and Teaching Fellow will examine the college’s links to the transatlantic slave trade.

This can be through fees and bequests from students and alumni, or through college investments.

The Fellow, who will be appointed in October, will also review all contributions from Trinity members who have spoken out against slavery.

Isuri Ratnayake, Ethnic and Inclusion Officer for Trinity’s Graduate Society, said: “Investigating and recognizing the College’s legacy of slavery is critical to cultivating a culture of accountability and inclusivity.

“Only by facing up to our past can we pave the way to a more just future where all members of our community can thrive free from the shadows of oppression and discrimination.

“I hope other institutions, along with Trinity, continue to recognize their historical links to slavery and take concrete steps towards repair and reconciliation.”

dr Michael Banner, the college’s dean, said the role was a “welcome initiative” and “essential in enabling us to understand the extent to which the college was directly or indirectly involved in or benefited from slavery.”

He added: “This research will enable debates and discussions from a variety of perspectives, both within the academic community and with the general public.”

The establishment of the scholarship follows the university’s legacy of studying enslavement, which took place in 2019-20.

The investigation found that the university drew “significant benefits” from the transatlantic slave trade, although it found no evidence that the university owned enslaved people or slave plantations.

“The research found no evidence that the university directly owned slave plantations or slaves. However, significant benefits have been identified for the university and its colleges, resulting from investments in companies involved in trade, from individual benefactors, and from fees derived from plantation owners’ families,” the university said in its announcement of the Publication.

Recommendations were made for establishing a research center in Cambridge and for funding new partnerships in Africa and the Caribbean, including Cambridge-Caribbean Fellowships.

Trinity College has pledged to donate £1million over five years to these scholarships to enable up to three Caribbean students to study for a Masters at Cambridge each year.

Two PhD grants will also be available during the five-year initiative beginning in October.


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