Falling down a rabbit hole – the slavery debate sparked by ’12 Years a Slave’

In a previous post I was looking for some ideas and suggestions on how to write a column. It is one of my assignments for module 6 of the ‘Freelance journalism and feature writing’ course I am doing with the London School of Journalism.

For this part of the assignment I had to write a 250 words column based on a recent news story. My choice went for the debate generated by the movie ’12 Years a Slave’ and its main actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who called for the book and the movie to be taught at every school in Britain. Here is my (very concise) draft (I would have written much more on this but I had to keep it to the word count). Again any views or comments would be much appreciated. Thank you. 


’12 Years a Slave’ a movie poised for numerous awards, has opened the debate on the role of Britain in the black African slave trade. The movie’s main actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, has invited us to look at our cities to see how they are linked to this trade.

“There is this reflex fear that once you expose something, once you talk about it, you are really talking about your society. That is why we do not really investigate what Bristol or London or Bath would be without the slave trade”.

Although that is not easily done, the merits of a debate cannot be questioned.

There is general understanding to be gained about black people’s history in Britain. Because most of the African slaves, were shipped to America and the Caribbeans, people in Britain may not feel concerned. But the transatlantic slave trade was operated and benefitted Europeans and some notable British names. In terms of populations, some of the descendants of these populations, live today in Britain.  

Recognising the extent of the historical damage can soothe tensions and pave the way for a lasting remedy. To reverse years of discrimination and related consequences on life chances.

Acknowledging African people’s immense contribution in the making of modern Britain is restoring justice and giving some long-due value to their role. 

Chiwetel said, he fell down a rabbit hole with the book of Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery, the story of ’12 Years a Slave’. He has certainly gone through a journey into the heart of darkness, something we should all follow for a truthful end.


4 thoughts on “Falling down a rabbit hole – the slavery debate sparked by ’12 Years a Slave’

  1. Hi Evelyn, thank you for your comments and for taking the time. Let me know what you think after you’ve seen it. Thanks i might need help again in the future with other assignments, it’d be great to hear from you again.


  2. Reblogged this on Laura's Little Things and commented:

    How has the film ’12 years a slave’ affected you? Is it helpful to make us here in Britain think about the past and the trade slave? This is not only an issue that concerns Americans, it is relevant in the UK as well as in other European countries involved in this trade. Check out why having a debate on the issue of the slavery trade would be beneficial for us here in Britain.


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