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The Guardian | Cotton Capital series

In March 2023, the Guardian launched Cotton Capital, a special series grappling with publication’s links to Transatlantic Slavery. The series was published alongside the publication of the Scott Trust Legacies of Enslavement Report and an apology from the Gaurdian’s owners for the founders’ links to Transatlantic Slavery.

Cotton Capital explores how transatlantic slavery shaped the Guardian, Manchester, Britain and the world. Stemming from an investigation into the Guardian founders’ own links to slavery, this continuing series explores our history and its enduring legacies today.

Read the Cotton Capital articles:

Lanre Bakare, “A tale of two cities: The struggle for a Black history of Manchester,” The Guardian, 31 March 2023,

Deneen L Brown, “White gold from Black hands: The Gullah Geechee fight for a legacy after slavery,” The Guardian, 30 March 2023,

Cassandra Gooptar, “The cotton thread: How we uncovered the Guardian founders’ links to slavery,” The Guardian, 28 March 2023,

Aamna Mohdin, “Guardian owner apologises for founders’ links to Transatlantic Slavery,” The Guardian, 28 March 2023,

Aamna Mohdin, “The Guardian and slavery: what did the research find and what happens next?,” The Guardian, 28 March 2023,

David Olusoga, “Slavery and the Guardian: Ties that bind us,” The Guardian, 28 March 2023,

Olivetti Otele, “More than money: The logic of slavery reparations,” The Guardian, 31 March 2023,

Matthew Stallard and Aamna Mohdin, “The slave trade and the deep south accounting for the cotton capital’s human cost,” The Guardian, 30 March 2023,

Maya Wolfe-Robinson, “In memoriam: The enslaved people linked to the Guardian,” The Guardian, 28 March 2023,

Michael Taylor, “The Manchester Guardian the limits of liberalism in the kingdom of cotton,” The Guardian, 29 March 2023,

Gary Younge, “Lest we remember: How Britain buried its history of slavery,” The Guardian, 29 March 2023,

Watch & Listen to Cotton Capital media:

David Olusoga, Cassandra Gooptar, Maya Wolfe-Robinson, Laurence Topham, Alex Healey, Alex Zepherin, Madeleine Desalu, Rhys Aaron Lewis, Ken Macfarlane, Jimi Otukoya and Katie Lamborn, “David Olusoga on the Guardian’s links to slavery: ‘That reality can’t be negotiated with,’ ”The Guardian, video, 28 March 2023,

Cotton Capital podcast (six episodes)

Read the Wilberforce Institute academic report:

Researchers at the Wilberforce Institute delivered this research project commissioned by The Scott Trust Limited (owners of Guardian Media Group) to uncover links between transatlantic slavery and the founders of the Manchester Guardian.

The three-part report is available at the following links:

Part One: The Taylor Report (University of Nottingham)

Part Two: The Scott Trust Legacies of Enslavement Report

Part Three: Sea Islands & Jamaica: Tracing the Enslaved People


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Doctor Charmaine A. Nelson

Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson Director & Provost Professor of Art History

Is supported in this work by wonderful Research Assistants, an esteemed Advisory Board, affiliated centres, and dedicated staff at the University of Massachusetts.

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