CNN’s Don Lemon was left dumbfounded by royal commentator Hilary Fordwich when he asked about reparations for slavery and colonialism in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday.
In a clip making its rounds on Twitter, Lemon spoke out against the Royal’s family’s wealth, wondering whether it was time for them to pay reparations for past misdeeds. “All of this wealth — and you hear about it comes as England is facing rising cost of living … and then you have those who are asking for reparations for colonialism … some of those people want to be paid back. Members of the public are asking ‘why are we suffering when you have all of this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns,” Lemon said.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 20, 2022
Fordwich initially appeared to agree with Lemon’s case for reparations, but then said that if reparations were to be paid, they would need to go back “to the beginning of the supply chain … that was in Africa.”
She went on to remind Lemon that Great Britain was among the first modern nations to abolish slavery and that African kingdoms were also complicit in the slave trade.
“I think you’re totally right, if reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, “who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely,” Fordwich said. (RELATED: ‘Pandering For A Vote: Herschel Walker Criticizes Concept Of Slavery Reparations)
Fordwich also said that some 2,000 British naval personnel “died on the high seas trying to stop slavery” and that the descendants of those sailors “should receive” reparations “at the same time.”
African studies professor Toyin Falola told the Wall Street Journal that kingdoms on Africa’s east coast played a pivotal role in selling huge numbers of their fellow Africans into European slavery. “The organization of the slave trade was structured to have the Europeans stay along the coast lines, relying on African middlemen and merchants to bring the slaves to them,” he said. “The Europeans couldn’t have gone into the interior to get the slaves themselves.”
After abolishing slavery, the United Kingdom worked to eliminate the slave trade by posting a small Royal Navy fleet off the coast of West Africa. In its 55-year history, this fleet saved 150,000-200,000 people from slavery in what The Maritime Executive describes as “by far the most significant human-rights action at sea during the 19th century.”