Eighty years late: groundbreaking work on slave economy is finally published in UK | Race

In 1938, a brilliant young Black scholar at Oxford University wrote a thesis on the economic history of British empire and challenged a claim about slavery that had been defining Britain’s role in the world for more than a century.

But when Eric Williams – who would later become the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago – sought to publish his “mind-blowing” thesis on capitalism and slavery in Britain, he was shunned by publishers and accused of undermining the humanitarian motivation for Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act.

Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams.

Now, 84 years after his work was rejected in the UK, and 78 years after it was first published in America, where it became a highly influential anti-colonial text, Williams’s book, Capitalism and Slavery, will finally be published in Britain by a mainstream British publisher.

Fans of the book include the rapper and author Akala, the novelist Monique Roffey, the poet Michael Rosen…

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