LONDON (AP) — Britain’s University of Cambridge said Tuesday that it plans to investigate its links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade with a two-year study that will recommend ways to acknowledge and address the impact of the academic institution’s involvement.
The elite university said the study will look at financial support it may have received from those linked to slavery, as well as how the work of its scholars helped underpin attitudes to slavery.
Professor Martin Millett, who will oversee the work, says “it is reasonable to assume that, like many large British institutions during the colonial era, the university will have benefited directly or indirectly from, and contributed to, the practices of the time.”
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Liverpool and other major British port cities benefited enormously from the slave trade and many companies and families became wealthy.
Cambridge says the study is part of a “wider reflection” on the links between slavery and universities in Britain and the U.S. Vice chancellor Stephen Toope said the university has an obligation to look into how it might have profited from forced labor during the colonial era.
“We cannot change the past, but nor should we seek to hide from it,” he said. “I hope this process will help the university understand and acknowledge its role during that dark phase of human history.”
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