- oD 50.50
Campaigners and governments leading the fight to end ‘modern-day slavery’ regularly appeal to the history of anti-slavery to help justify their current activities and agendas. These appeals to history typically involve one or more of the following: 1) a selective focus upon mostly white anti-slavery campaigners in Britain and the United States; 2) a largely uncritical celebration of the virtues of ‘great emancipators’, such as William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln, whose personal examples are invoked as models to emulate; and 3) a recurring emphasis on innovative strategies used by ordinary citizens—petitions, boycotts, pamphlets—whose impact is held to have been politically decisive in securing ‘freedom’ for enslaved Africans. This superficial approach to history is flawed. Read on...