The Lost Welsh Hero; Dr Jerry Hunter Reveals the Tale of Slavery's Unsung Saviour
Byline: By JILL TUNSTALL
SERENA and Venus Williams, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell - if it's ever struck you so many black Americans have Welsh surnames a new series explains why. The uncomfortable truth is those whose ancestors were slaves took their names from their owners - in some cases Welsh immigrants, America Gaeth a'r Cymry (American Slavery and the Welsh) reveals. But many slaves also owe their freedom from slavery largely to the efforts of a Welshman.
The series turns the spotlight on unsung hero Robert Everett from Flintshire who was as important as his more famous English contemporary William Wilberforce.
"In many ways this is the prequel to Cymry Rhyfel Cartref America (The Welsh and the American Civil War)," says Dr Jerry Hunter of Bangor university's Welsh department who was involved in making that award-winning documentary series.
"It will give the whole history of Welsh involvement in slavery, both positive and negative."
There were those like Brecon Thomas Phillips, who was the captain of a slave ship, and cleric and poet, Goronwy Owen who spent his latter years as a tobacco planter in Virginia, where he owned four slaves.
But there were others like Everett who were against the trade in people and it was their voices that grew louder and began to be heard.
"Everett worked hard to radicalise opinion against slavery and what's interesting is that at the time of the civil war the Welsh were incredibly united against slavery," says Dr Hunter, a fluent Welsh-speaking American who has lived in Wales for 20 years. …