People of the Caribbean are demanding reparations from European colonial powers for the slave trade that ruined the lives of millions of people from Africa. Will they get anything from the Europeans? While monetary compensation may not be forthcoming, the issue has put spotlight on one of the most egregious crimes perpetrated in human history.
Haiti was the first African colony of slaves in the New World to declare independence from its colonial (French) overlords in 1804. The United States refused to recognize this new expression of freedom.
A quarter of a century ago, Alex Haley’s autobiographical oral history Roots sparked controversy among historians because Haley claimed that his African ancestors kidnapped into American slavery were Muslims.
When Alex Haley asserted in his 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, that its main character Kunte Kinte was a Muslim, he was dismissed by many American historians.
Sources: Elizabeth Donnan, 4 vols. Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America, Washington D.C. 1930-1935 Carnage Institute of Technology, Pittusburgh, Pennsylvania.