"Cambridge and its colleges are rich. Staggeringly rich. And – spoiler alert – some of the gifts and bequests buried deep within that mountain of wealth will have come from benefactors who were slave traders and slave owners. This is true of other universities, here and abroad. Yet the same commentators who endlessly accuse students of being closed to new ideas and unwilling to face uncomfortable facts have rushed to condemn the university’s investigation into its own past. Their argument, in essence, is that we’re better off not knowing."
After going through some of the old excuses being wheeled out (such as 'grievance archeology'), Olusoga states: "...if Cambridge, the university from which the abolitionists William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson both graduated, had set up a project to explore its role in the ending of slavery, there would have been back-slaps all round. Everyone is happy for the history of slavery to be investigated so long as the investigation examines the parts in which we look good."
The Cambridge announcement is not about "dredging up the past, self-flagellation or any of the other blithe dismissals we’ve heard. It is about breaking the historical silence and uncovering a past that was whitewashed."
Read the full article here.