In the 1960s, Jamaican Rastafarians began petitioning the British Crown for reparations for slavery to fund their repatriation to Africa, even presenting a petition to the United Nations. In 2002, with reparations still not forthcoming and Queen Elizabeth II set to visit Jamaica on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, a group of Rastafarians demanded a meeting with her to press for action on the issue and filed a lawsuit to force a discussion.
“Colonialization has disfigured us and we deserve some response to what we have been through,” Sam Clayton, leader of Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, told the Associated Press at the time. “We think the queen can make a significant contribution.” It’s estimated that more than 90% of Jamaica’s population is descended from enslaved people forcibly brought there from Africa.
Karen Marks Mafundikwa’s 2014 documentary The Price of Memory, screening on the evening of Friday, August 18, at Brooklyn performance venue JACK, follows Ras Lion, one of the Rastafarians who petitioned the Queen in 2002, and Michael Lorne, the attorney who filed the lawsuit. Filmed over a decade, it tracks their efforts to secure some $129 billion for the resettling of half a million Jamaican Rastafarians in Africa. Because of their campaign, the issue eventually went before the parliaments of both Jamaica and the UK — where, sadly but unsurprisingly, it was met with great indifference.
When: Friday, August 18, 7:30pm
Where: JACK (505 1/2 Waverly Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)
More info here.