Benedict Cumberbatch and his family face prospect of legal action over ancestors’ slaves
In the Oscar-winning movie 12 Years a Slave, Benedict Cumberbatch played a plantation owner to great critical acclaim. It was also close to the bone, his ancestors having run a slave plantation on Barbados in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Now, the Cumberbatch clan faces the prospect of a legal battle with the island state after it declared that it was seeking reparations from the families of past slave owners.
The seventh great-grandfather of the Oscar-nominated star bought the Cleland plantation in the north of the island in 1728. It was home to 250 slaves until the abolition of slavery more than 100 years later. The slave plantation is reported to have made the Cumberbatch family a small fortune.
Now the government of Barbados is cranking up its fight for reparations from the descendants of slave-owning families.
Richard Drax, a Conservative MP, who has inherited his family’s ancestral sugar plantation, is under huge pressure to hand back hundreds of acres of prime real estate on the holiday island so that it can be turned into a monument to slavery.
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