MARVIN Humes admitted he expected to find links to slavery in his family’s past but could never have imagined his relatives would have been the owners, not the slaves.
The JLS singer found out on Who Do You Think You Are? that his four times great grandfather on his dad’s side, John Brown Williams, owned two slaves in Jamaica. Here’s the lowdown…
BBC Marvin found out his ancestors owned slaves on his dad’s side of the family. Pictured clockwise from left, Marvin’s grandmother Ruby Humes, grandfather Robert, dad Colin and uncle Peter
Who was Marvin Humes’ great-grandfather?
Marvin’s four-times-great-grandfather on his father’s side, John Brown Williams, owned two slaves that worked his 20-acre plot of land in Jamaica.
John’s own father Edward had been a slave – whose freedom was bought for £160 in 1818. His freedom enabled John to buy the land which came with two slave workers.
After the abolition of slavery, in 1834, he was compensated £53 for losing the two slaves, which is equivalent to around £4200 in today’s money.
Marvin told the BBC cameras: “Never did it cross my mind that my four times great-grandfather would have been a slave owner. I didn’t even know that black people had slaves.
“I’d like to think that my four times great-grandfather, who was a black man, who was a free man also, I’d like to think he would have treated them respectfully and treated them as human beings and not as animals.”
BBC Marvin expected to find a family connection to slavery – but never imagined his ancestors would have been the owners
What did he do in the Second World War?
After his shock discovery, Marvin travels back to England to follow the trail of his great-grandfather about whom he knows almost nothing.
After extensive research, Marvin undercovers a secret hero, who overcame a traumatic childhood to play a part in one of the most dramatic events of the Second World War.
His great-grandfather served with distinction during a key moment during the War.