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THE FILM

Queen Elizabeth II, the British Monarch, visits Jamaica for her Golden Jubilee Celebrations. While there, she is petitioned by a small group of Rastafari for slavery reparations.  The film traces this petition, as well as a reparations lawsuit against the Queen. We follow Ras Lion a mystic Rasta farmer who petitioned the Queen, and Michael Lorne; the attorney who brought the lawsuit. In the background are the stories of earlier Rastas who pursued reparations in the 1960s, and who undertook a historic mission to Africa to organize official repatriation. The Price of Memory explores the impact of slavery on independent Jamaica, following the filmmaker on a journey over the course of a decade, during which the question of reparations reaches Parliament in both Jamaica and the UK.

This award-winning documentary feature film which was shot over a period of ten years, features appearances by: Queen Elizabeth II, Rastafari, scholars, reparations activists, lawyers, and everyday Jamaicans talking about the legacy of slavery in Jamaica. 

Total Running Time: 83 minutes

Year of Release:          2014

 
Rastafari Elder Filmore Alvaranga, O.D.
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THE SLAVERY REPARATIONS MOVEMENT

Jamaica's Rastafari movement which emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s, had an ongoing call for reparations with repatriation, for decades. The movement for reparations across the Caribbean gained momentum in the early 2000s, with the formation of Jamaica Reparations Movement, formed after the World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa in 2001. Jamaica's government created a national commission on reparations in  2009. https://jis.gov.jm/features/national-commission-reparations/.

The call for reparations has grown to The Caribbean Reparations Commission, which was formed in 2013. https://caricomreparations.org

 
 
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THE FACTS

British slavery in Jamaica lasted from the British arrival in 1655 until enslavement ended in 1838. The free labor of enslaved people in Jamaica and other British colonies in the Caribbean contributed greatly to the wealth of Britain. Some made personal fortunes. The products created led to industries and jobs in Britain. British industries, institutions and cities were built from this wealth. 

There were 22 documented slave revolts in Jamaica. 

When the end of slavery came, Britain paid its slave owners 20 million pounds to compensate them for the loss of their slaves. Britain paid the enslaved people and their descendants nothing.

 

Suggested reading:

Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams

Slavery & Social Death by Orlando Patterson

Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica

Britain's Black Debt by Sir Hilary Beckles

Slavery and the British Country House