A group of American descendants of slaves filed a lawsuit this week demanding compensation from the British insurance company Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s was founded, in 1688, to underwrite merchant ships, and much of its early business came from insuring slave ships. The company is now worth billions. The Americans bringing the suit say they have DNA evidence linking them directly to some of the Africans transported on ships insured by Lloyd’s. “We were referred to as cargo on shipping records, not by our names,” said plaintiff Deadria Farmer-Paellman, who traces her ancestry to the Mende tribe of Sierra Leone. “This, as well as all the murder and mistreatment our ancestors suffered, is the definition of genocide, and Lloyd’s of London aided and abetted it.” A Lloyd’s spokesman said the company had faced slavery lawsuits before and that courts had always tossed them out.
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