Episode One: Sir Hilary Beckles

On this episode of Blacktalk, we explore the historical economic links of slavery with Vice Chacellor of the University of the West Indies and global activist, Sir Hilary Beckles. He shares a disturbingly frank look at the British colonial practices of the Black slave code. These practices were institutionalized and legitimized in order to commoditize Black people as labour and assets. Sir Hilary explains how the economic and societal underpinnings of this new island society of Barbados were exported throughout the Americas. As we find ourselves at this “George Floyd moment”, Sir Hilary illustrates how modern experiences of racism are the appalling legacy of these early colonial practices and institutions.

We talk about:

The racism behind the British Emancipations Act

Reparations, cleaning up the mess left by colonialism and repaying the debt from 200 years of free labour from 20 million people

Why we need a comprehensive, decades long reparations program of serious economic enfranchisement to compensate for the magnitude and severity of slavery and racism inflicted on Black communities

The health implications of historical inequities and the Caribbean’s triple C challenge of chronic disease, climate change and COVID-19

The bloody legacy of the Rhodes Scholarship, British imperialism and Sir Hilary’s thoughts on his personal connection to knighthood

Key words: anti-black racism, black achievement, reparations, Black slave code, slavery, colonialism, Barbados, Caribbean