The news, first reported by the Telegraph, as people outraged by the assassination of an African American man in Minnesota, George Floyd, as well as the pursuit of racial discrimination closest to home , demand that the UK recognize the legacy of the British Empire’s important role in enslaving millions of Africans.
Files archived by researchers at University College London (UCL) show that one of Greene King’s founders, Benjamin Greene, who held at least 231 human beings in bondage and became a staunch supporter of the practice.
When slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833, the government agreed to pay compensation; not slavery, but for slavers.
Records show Greene was given the equivalent of £ 500,000 at the daily rate when he transferred the Montserrat and St. Kitts planting rights.
He handed over control of his brewery, his son three years later and he gave his current name following a merger in 1887. Several of Greene’s descendants subsequently held important posts in British society, including a Bank of England Governor, MP Conservative and Managing Director of the BBC.“It is outrageous that one of our founders took advantage of slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s,” said Nick Mackenzie, Greene King CEO on Wednesday.
“We don’t have all the answers, which is why we take the time to listen and learn with all voices, including our team members and charity partners as we strengthen our diversity and l ‘inclusion of work. ”
MacKenzie added that the firm will to “make a substantial investment for the benefit of the community BAME and to support our race for diversity in business.” He added that the company employs people “across the UK, from all walks of life”, adding that “racism and discrimination have no place at Greene King”.
Lloyd’s of London said it would “invest in programs to attract, retain and develop black and ethnic talent,” as well as provide “financial support to charities and organizations.” promoting opportunity and inclusion for blacks and ethnic minorities. ”
A spokesperson said Lloyd in the process of identifying the groups, while Greene King is heard at the consultation on what would be most appropriate. Neither the firm is able to say on Wednesday evening, how much money they intend to pay in charitable donations or investments in relevant programs.
The UCL records show that Simon Fraser, one of the founders of the Lloyd’s subscriber member, held at least 162 people in slavery and was paid the equivalent of almost £ 400,000 at the current rate to yield a plantation in Dominica, while others were detained at a site in British Guiana researchers believe either belonged to him or his son.
“The Lloyd’s has a long and rich history dating back over 330 years, but there are certain aspects of our history that we are not proud of. In particular, we are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the slave trade. It was a horrible and shameful period in English history, as well as ours, and we condemn the untenable of wrongdoing that took place during this period, “a spokesperson said Wednesday.
The company said it wanted to both recognize its history and identify what it could do to further integrate culture into the present. Besides investments, it aims to provide education and research, as well as the review of its “organizing objects to make sure they are explicitly non-racist ”.
The spokesperson added: “We are very grateful to blacks and other ethnic minorities, the colleagues who have helped shape our conversations and actions to ensure that we create an environment free from injustice for them and for everyone. Our commitment is that we will continue to listen and learn that we are acting and as we progress.
“There is a long way to go, but we believe we can and will create a culture in the Lloyd’s market in which everyone can thrive.”
Records show that, far from being a system made up of a few wealthy slave traders, many ordinary people have directly benefited from relatively small bets in the transatlantic slave trade, while the country has become wealthy as a product.