A BBC journalist whose family made history by publicly apologizing for owning enslaved African people and paying reparation has now quit her job to campaign for reparations.
Laura’s aristocratic family travelled to Grenada last month to publicly apologise for their role in slavery and announced £100,000 in reparations.
Trevelyan, who said that the £100,000 donation would be drawn from her pending BBC pension payout, said she is quitting the public broadcaster to become a full-time “roving advocate” on the campaign to secure financial reparations for the Caribbean from former colonial powers.
She also said she wanted to work with other families whose ancestors owned enslaved people in the Caribbean and who wanted to make amends.
Trevelyan plans to work with figures such as the Labour MP Clive Lewis, who called on Rishi Sunak to enter negotiations with Caribbean leaders on paying reparations for Britain’s role in slavery.
Speaking in parliament last week, Lewis described the apology and reparation by the Trevelyans as having “opened the door of this debate just a little wider”.
The Trevelyan family’s apology and reparation was announced alongside Sir Hilary Beckles, chair of the Caricom Reparations Commission. Caricom, or Caribbean Community, is a group of 15 countries in the region.
Trevelyan said that her future work would entail “advocating for Caricom’s reparatory justice agenda”.
In November, King Charles was reported to have said he was ready to have “active conversations” about Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. His goddaughter, Fiona Compton, who is an artist and daughter of former prime minister of St Lucia Sir John Compton, said the king had spoken to her about the way the subject could be better highlighted and acknowledged.
Last year, Trevelyan went to Grenada to explore her family’s legacy in slavery in a BBC documentary.
In 1835, the Trevelyan family received £26,898, a significant sum at the time, in compensation from the British government for the abolition of slavery a year earlier. The enslaved men, women and children on their plantations received nothing, and were forced to work a further eight years unpaid as “apprentices”.