My BBC success is linked to slavery – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Laura Trevelyan has said her professional success can be traced back to Britain’s colonial history after leaving the BBC this week to tackle her family’s slave trade legacy.

In an interview with Deadline, the former BBC World News anchor said she felt a personal responsibility for her ancestors who owned slaves on Grenada, the Caribbean island.

Trevelyan also called on King Charles III to properly confront the British royal family about slavery amid a growing reckoning among Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean.

The 54-year-old enjoyed a 30-year career with the BBC presenting shows including Emmy winner BBC World News America. She left this week to join the restorative justice movement for the Caribbean.

“My own social and professional status, nearly 200 years after abolition, is almost certainly linked to the wealth and status our family has acquired, at least in part through slave ownership,” she said. “There is no coincidence. The past determines the present.”

Trevelyan, who is married to former ABC News chief James Goldston, and her family last month apologized to the people of Grenada because their ancestors owned more than 1,000 slaves on six sugar plantations.

Trevelyan said she would use her storytelling expertise and her public platform to better publicize efforts to uproot the legacy of colonialism in the Caribbean. She doesn’t have a formal role yet, but said she would be a “roving restorative justice advocate.”

She explained: “It is certainly a leap of faith, but a path has emerged. This is an opportunity and I may be uniquely positioned [to embrace this role] because I am a descendant of slave owners, and because I am not afraid to answer all the questions that come with it.”

Trevelyan was forced to take on the case after traveling to Grenada last year to make a BBC documentary about her family’s slave trade history. She said the trip had a “profound” impact, helping her understand that the legacy of slavery lives on, not least because Grenada’s epidemic of obesity, hypertension and diabetes can be traced back to colonialism.

“We signed our apologies and gave them to the Prime Minister of Grenada, and he thanked us and forgave us, and said he hoped this would be a turning point in the fight for restorative justice,” Trevelyan said of her visit last month. in which she donated a £100,000 ($121,000) recovery fund.

Trevelyan said she felt “liberated” to talk about the slavery issue after leaving the BBC, which holds staff to strict impartiality rules. “I’m ready to have my own voice and I feel like this is a story I hope I can tell in tandem with the Caribbean,” she explained.

To that end, she felt able to criticize the British royal family for the first time, arguing that her current stance of “regret” about slavery “doesn’t really cut it anymore”.

Trevelyan said: “It is very important for the king to recognize that the royal family was crucial in the early days in approving the slave trade. The Royal Africa Company was sanctioned by the royal family in the 17th century. Slaves were branded with the Duke of York’s initials and he later became king.

“In a very British way none of this is being acknowledged… his coronation, or the months following the coronation, is an opportunity to acknowledge the shared painful past. I would strongly encourage him to do so.”

During a visit to the Caribbean last year, Prince William said slavery was abhorrent, “should never have happened” and “forever stained our history.”

Trevelyan signed off earlier this week, thanking the BBC World News America audience and said it had been an “absolute honor” to host the show.

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