Guardian Begins Investigating Own Slavery Links

After Guido brought to light The Guardian’s slavery past in the midst of Black Lives Matter protests, the Scott Trust – the owner of The Guardian – has commissioned independent researchers to look into the paper’s historical connections to the slave trade. Guido hopes it won’t be a whitewash…

Chairman of the Scott Trust, Alex Graham, told staff in an email on Friday that “some of [the paper’s founder] and his funders’ family business would almost certainly have traded with cotton plantations that used enslaved Labour”, going onto acknowledge the Manchester Guardian had sided with the slave-owning South in the American civil war. Employees were also told that the paper’s owners have seen “no evidence” that founder Edward Taylor “was a slave owner, nor involved in any direct way in the slave trade”, however promising to “do our best to hold ourselves to account, just as we do others”.  No acknowledgement of the Guardian’s demand for striking Manchester cotton workers – refusing to touch cotton picked by US slaves – to return to work…

There has already been independent academic research into the subject. In 1962 an historian called Robert Allen Schellenberg wrote a 70-page master’s thesis entitled The Manchester Guardian and the American Civil War“, in which he notes that The Guardian stood almost entirely alone in working-class Northern newspapers at the time in standing with the Confederate South. The Guardian was, according to this research, patronised by Lancashire mill owners who profited greatly from the cheap cotton made available by slavery in the South. Moreover, the newspaper defended the conditions of slaves in America as late as 1863. Long after slavery had been ruled unlawful in this country.

This is of course a partial victory for the 25,000 signatories of the Guardian Must Fall petition…

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