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Alex Renton talks to Hugh Muir

Blood Legacy

Hay Festival 2022, 

When slavery was abolished across most of the British Empire in 1833, it was not the newly liberated who received compensation, but the tens of thousands of enslavers who were paid millions of pounds in government money. The descendants of some of those slave owners are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in Britain today.

In Blood Legacy: Reckoning with a Family’s Story of Slavery, through the story of his own family’s history as slave and plantation owners, Alex Renton explores what inheritance – political, economic, moral and spiritual – has been passed to both the descendants of the slave owners and the descendants of the enslaved. He also asks how the former – himself among them – can begin to make reparations for the past.

Alex Renton talks to Hugh Muir