THE Facebook post on slavery made by Darlington Conservative Councillor Pauline Culley (Echo, June 26) illustrates not only her ignorance of the subject but the dangers of spreading misinformation on social media.

It is a serious matter which I am pleased to hear has been referred to a misconduct hearing.

Black slavery is special – in that it is characterised by its massive scale, inhumanity, cruelty and its legacy of racism that exists to this day.

More than 12m Africans were captured, enslaved and transported to the Americas (one million died on the journey).

From the 17th Century Britain played a significant part in this trade until it was abolished in the 19th Century.

Slaves were transported as property rather than as people and were insured as such.

The British taxpayer has only recently paid back the debt of compensation made to slave owners for their “property loss” when slavery was abolished.

I can recommend some reading to Cllr Culley and others interested in the subject. A good starting point would be The Northern Echo Weekend Memories (issue 494) reports on three anti-slavery campaigners and their work, all with North-East connections and honoured with blue plaques in Durham Town Hall and Sunderland.

For an overview, read James Walvin’s A Short History of Slavery. Chapter five succinctly describes how Britain became involved with the slave trade.

Another history book with a North-East connection is Black and British – A Forgotten History by Professor David Olusoga who spent part of his childhood in the North-East but the family sadly had to move because of the racism they suffered.

His starting point is Roman Britain and shows how black history is woven into the cultural and economic history of the nation and belongs to all its citizens.

I also would recommend Michael Holding’s recently published Why We Kneel How We Rise.

Michael, the former West Indian cricketer, shares his story together with those of some of the most iconic athletes in the world and proposes a positive message of hope for the future through education.

Michael McCann, Middlesbrough.

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