James Bannerman

James Bannerman was a prominent trader and slave-owner in Ghana in the first half of the nineteenth century. His parents were Colonel Henry Bannerman, a Scottish trader and officer, and a Ga woman from Accra whose name is unknown. Henry Bannerman worked for the Royal Africa Company and was stationed at Cape Coast, a British fort on the Atlantic Ocean in what is today Ghana. His mother’s family was connected to nearby chieftaincies. These dual connections gave Bannerman the ability to work as a middleman between West Africans and the British.

Little is known about Bannerman’s childhood. In 1826, Bannerman married Yaa Hom, an Asante princess who had been captured when the British defeated the Kingdom of Asante at the Battle of Katamonso in 1826. At the time, Asante was the dominant state in the region. Bannerman and Yaa Hom eventually had six children together.

Bannerman was a prosperous slave owner and clashed with the British over the abolition of slavery in Cape Coast. He believed that he had a right to manage and maintain his “property” as he saw fit. In 1841, he wrote the British Parliament warning that the abolition of slavery would lead to a flight of Ghanaians away from British territory.

Bannerman benefited from the growing trade between Cape Coast and Europe. As a prosperous land and slave owner with connections both to the British and the Asante, he was well positioned to be of service to foreign businesses and local kingdoms. After a long trading career, Bannerman entered the British colonial administration as a justice of the peace in 1842. By 1850, he became the lieutenant governor of the Gold Coast (today Ghana). He also served as an unofficial member of the Gold Coast Legislative Council.

During his time as lieutenant governor, he was involved in many important events. Most notably, he came to the defense of Thomas Birch Freeman, an Afro-English missionary who was attacked by priests of a local deity named Naanam Mpow. Bannerman responded by jailing the priests. While he had higher ambitions, he was never able to become governor of the Gold Coast.

Bannerman’s family remained prominent after his death in 1858. His son Charles established the Accra Herald newspaper in September 1857, the first African to publish a newspaper in West Africa. The Accra Herald(later named the West African Herald) continued for 16 years. Another son, Edmund, served as secretary to governors of the Gold Coast, a Civil Commandant, and a Justice of the Peace. He later became an attorney. Bannerman’s sons were all educated in England.

Bannerman’s grandson, Thomas Hutton-Mills Sr., was a lawyer and nationalist leader in the early twentieth century. He served as the first President of the National Congress of British West Africa in 1920. Thomas Hutton-Mills Jr., was a lawyer and early member of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP). He was put in jail in 1950 for helping lead boycotts and strikes against the British. He later became a member of the Legislative Assembly, a cabinet minister, and after independence, Ghana’s Ambassador to Liberia.

Sources: enslaved.org

EU PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR ‘REPARATIONS FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’ TO AFRO-EUROPEANS

The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday addressing “structural racism” in Europe against Europeans of African descent. The resolution calls for “reparations for crimes against humanity during European colonialism.”

The document was written by the British Labour MEP Claude Moraes and was inspired by the racist behavior allegedly experienced by Italian socialist MEP Cécile Kyenge, who served as Italy’s first black government minister, according to The Guardian. The resolution was approved with 535 in favor, and 80 against with 44 abstentions.

The resolution urges member states of the EU to form and execute anti-racism strategies within their home nations, specifically focusing on “the fields of education, housing, health, criminal justice, political participation and migration,” according to the European Parliament website. It also seeks to address “racial profiling in criminal law and counter-terrorism.”

The resolution also clearly endorses action regarding reparations made to Afro-Europeans for “crimes against humanity during European colonialism.

The European Parliament’s press release about the resolution reads, “Additionally, people of African descent should be taken into account more in current funding programmes and in the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027).”

The resolution encourages EU institutions and member states to address and rectify past injustices and crimes against humanity, perpetrated in the name of European colonialism. These historic crimes still have present day negative consequences for people of African descent, MEPs claim.

MEPs suggest carrying out reparations, such as apologising publicly and return stolen artefacts to their countries of origin.”

The European Parliament also calls for nations to declassify their colonial archives and to provide a “comprehensive perspective on colonialism and slavery” in academic curricula.

 

Source: The Guardian