London firms bankrolled slavery. Now they’re confronting their ...

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London firms bankrolled slavery. Now they’re confronting their dark pasts

Banks and insurance companies debate how best to deal with their racist origins in the wake of Black Lives Matter

Carolyn Cohn and Huw Jones

British ships ferried more than 3-million enslaved African people across the Atlantic Ocean. Lloyd’s of London insured many of those vessels, the people chained below deck sometimes categorised as “perishable goods”, alongside cattle, by the market’s underwriters.

Lloyd’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade is not included in the market’s permanent exhibition at its modernistic city tower, but that is set to change.

“The legacy of slavery is racism. You can’t do what you have to do to make slavery work unless you constitute the enslaved people as less than human,” said Nick Draper, a former JPMorgan banker who was founding director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery (LBS) at University College London...

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