Slavery Reparations in the Caribbean: What to Expect?

By Zahra Burton, Brian Ellsworth

Caribbean activists helped make reparations a mainstream concept. Now they hope ex-colonial powers will commit to paying, even if it’s not the trillions of dollars slavery is estimated to have cost.

KINGSTON—When Jamaican history professor Verene Shepherd began advocating in the early 2000s for colonial powers to compensate Caribbean nations for the horrors of slavery, the idea went largely unnoticed in Europe and the United States. In Jamaica, some thought it would come across as “begging,” while others worried it would offend the British monarchy. Two decades later, the issue is routinely discussed by politicians throughout the Caribbean and is increasingly on the agenda of diplomatic summits. Countries across the region have created reparations commissions, the king of the...

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