Powerful new documentary explores the church's involvement in the trafficking of enslaved Africans

25 May 2022

A new documentary by award-winning programme maker Professor Robert Beckford, Director of the University of Winchester's Institute for Climate and Social Justice, unearths the Christian ideas that supported the trafficking of enslaved Africans.

After the Flood trailer (1) from Aniku Ltd on Vimeo.

After The Flood: The Church, Slavery and Reconciliation is premiered in London tonight (25 May) marking the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. The documentary was commissioned by UK charity the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation (MJR) and will be on general release later this year.

The film explores how, in the 18th century, the Church justified the enslavement of Africans and used the law to embed the supremacy of white slave-owners. The beliefs and attitudes that shaped this history is examined and the concepts of Christian slavery and reconciliation are also touched upon.

The UK church's involvement in the slave trade and how it helped to perpetuate racism is scrutinised and the film also outlines the present day impact of this unresolved history and ideas about how to move beyond it.

"It's important for the 21st century church to revisit the role the 18th century church played in perpetuating racist attitudes during black enslavement and providing a theological viewpoint in support of slavery," said DProfessor Robert Beckford.

"After the Flood: The Church, Slavery and Reconciliation provides an insight into the theology prevalent when the transatlantic slave trade was prominent. More importantly, it aims to generate discussion on how the church can redress the impact of those teachings in order to encourage reconciliation and set the groundwork for reparations to the black communities left impoverished by the after-effects of slavery."

Alton Bell, Chairman of MJR, said: "We commissioned After the Flood to raise awareness, amongst the Christian communities, of the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade and 18th century industrial exploitation. We want to achieve reconciliation, but we can't have reconciliation without repairing the damages from the past."

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