Slavery historian sheds light on the dark past that continues to shape the present


Because of America’s role in the history of slavery, many people think the U.S. has a responsibility to repay those who are still being affected by this centuries-long legacy. Randy Browne is a history professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati and an alumnus of Eckerd College. He spoke Tuesday night at Eckerd in St. Petersburg. Browne thinks repaying the debt is all about acknowledging and accepting the role slavery played in shaping the Americas.

The ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of a black teen by a law enforcement officer has reignited a public debate over the history of race relations in the US. In an interview before his talk, Randy Browne criticized a recent review in The Economist that slammed a book by slavery historian Edward Baptist.

The idea of the government compensating victims for injustices in the past is often called reparations. For example, the US government paid out more than $500 million to the Navajo Nation to settle court disputes based on mismanaged funds and natural resources. Browne said the rationale behind reparations …

This concept might have trouble finding traction in the US. But America isn’t the only country considering reparations

The title of Browne’s speech is, “The World the Slave Drivers Made: Slavery and Survival in the British Caribbean.” You can hear the whole speech below:

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