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What is the legacy of slavery today? Is it enough to acknowledge the crimes of the past, or do we have a responsibility to learn from our history and, going forward, do something about it?

With panellists Thomas Harding, author of “White Debt: The Demerara Uprising and Britain’s LEGACY OF SLAVERY” and Professor Matthew Smith, director of the Centre for the Studies of the Legacies of British Slavery. Moderated by Yasmeen Akhtar, Chief Executive of TrustLab and actively involved in the diversity, inclusion and reparations space.

About The Panellists

Thomas Harding

Thomas Harding is a bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 16 languages. He has written for the Sunday Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among other publications. He is the author of HANNS AND RUDOLF, which won the JQ-Wingate Prize for Non-Fiction; THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award; BLOOD ON THE PAGE, which won the Crime Writers’ Association “Golden Dagger Award for Non-Fiction” and FUTURE HISTORY, which was shortlisted for the German Children’s Literature Award 2021. His book, WHITE DEBT, will be published in January 2022.

Matthew J. Smith

Matthew J. Smith is Professor of History and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership. He joins UCL after many years working at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica where he was Professor of Caribbean History. His research is pan-Caribbean in scope with special interest in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories of Haiti and Jamaica. Among his publications is Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica After Emancipation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), a comparative study which explored the post-slavery intersections between the two Caribbean neighbours with a focus on overlapping narratives and shared migration histories. His earlier book, Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict and Political Change, 1934-1957 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009) studied the activities of radical political groups that emerged after the US Occupation of Haiti (1915-1934) and prior to the establishment of the dictatorship of François Duvalier in 1957. Among his current research projects is a study of the representations and legacies of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica in 1865, and a social history of Jamaican popular music since the 1950s.

Yasmeen Akhtar (Chair)

Yasmeen Akhtar is CEO of inchange; a cutting-edge change agency that cultivates courageous approaches to justice building and equity. Yasmeen's work focuses on investigating, articulating, and interrupting the ways in which power is reflected between positions, and within systems historically and today. She has 15+ years’ experience of third sector leadership in the UK and Internationally, facilitating high level UN award winning interventions in peace building, community-dialogue, and reconciliation. Most recently she is engaged in supporting grant making bodies to journey through a renewed dialogue advancing their understanding of their wealth and their work in the world through an anti-oppressive lens.

Please note

This discussion will take place online only.

Date - Tue 20 September 2022 7:30pm


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