On July 17, 2020, the Scott Trust, the foundation that owns the Guardian, announces the launch of a search to verify whether the founder of the newspaper (in 1821), John Edward Taylor, had links with the slave trade. “We have no evidence that Taylor owned any slaves or was directly involved in the slave trade,” wrote Alex Graham, president of the trust. But if such evidence existed, we would like to be open about it. »
John Edward Taylor was not just a journalist. He was also a merchant of cotton and other textiles. He rubbed shoulders with businessmen from Manchester, the city where The Guardian was founded, engaged in this industry which, in the 19th century, exploited black slaves.
The mandate was entrusted to independent researchers from the universities of Nottingham and Hull under the supervision of Sheryllynne Haggerty, an expert in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. In account books, they discovered that Taylor had interests in businesses producing and importing raw cotton grown by American slaves in the Sea Islands archipelago, South Carolina and Georgia. They also established that 9 of the original 11 Manchester Guardian funders had direct ties to these companies.
The daily has pledged to invest more than £10 million (C$16.8 million) in a restorative justice fund to benefit descendants of affected communities in the US, Jamaica and the UK. He also posted a serial report entitled The Cotton Capital1 whose subtitle refers to the impact of slavery on this newspaper, the British Empire and the world.
Yes, and royalty too, UN leaders insist. On Thursday, Jamaican academic Verene A. Shepherd, head of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, called for British state and royalty to open investigations. She recalled that the British government has never offered an apology for its role in the African slave trade.
“As journalists, we have the right to do whatever we want for research. And I think if people have doubts about certain parts of our mainstream media history, whether it’s The New York Times, The Washington Post, Montreal Gazette, The Montreal Star, or La Presse, why not? “, replies Alain Saulnier, media expert and author of the book Les Barbares Numériques. “But don’t have everyone getting stuck in there at the same time. Because we risk putting more than the customer asks for and that will trivialize things a bit. We can go there gradually. Other states and independent companies could also dig into their past, he believes.
Slavery existed in Canada and was abolished in 1834. Blacks and First Nations people were enslaved. In addition, Canada also experiences episodes of discrimination. This was particularly the case with the creation of the 2nd Construction Battalion (segregated) during the First World War for which the federal government issued its official apology on July 9, 2022.
The Canadian apology was presented following the work of a national committee which made eight recommendations. The federal government has respected each of these, the Canadian Armed Forces said in an unsigned email. Four of the eight recommendations were completed through the July 9, 2022 ceremony. Four more remain, including “the creation and support of a long-term legacy fund” intended to raise awareness and perpetuate the memory of the 2nd Battalion.
In New Brunswick, Acadian activist Jean-Marie Nadeau is calling for the name of the Université de Moncton to be changed. He recalls that the name of the largest city in the province comes from the colonial administrator Robert Monckton who “played an active role in the imprisonment and expulsion of thousands of Acadians”, recalls ICI New Brunswick. In Ontario, Ryerson University has changed its name to Toronto Metropolitan University. The man from whom its name was derived, Egerton Ryerson, is associated with residential schools.