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The Warwick Will, and a Slaveholder's Heritage

By Blog Master
Posted: 02/25/2022

Notes by Sharon Jarrett

The group had a presentation by Malissa Daniel an author of a yet to be published novel. The novel with the working title, The Warwick Will, is based on her family.

Ms. Daniel is a descendant of the Daniel and Warwick families originally from England who migrated to the Virginia colony in the 1600s.  

She began her presentation saying "There is no room for guilt, guilt inhibits discussion". She then reviewed the history of the Virginia Company and the commercial endeavor that began in 1607 in Jamestown.  

The original colonists were entitled British businessman who did not see themselves doing the work needed to establish the colony. Workers were initially recruited from Poland and these individuals stabilized the colony. Following the establishment of the House of Burgesses, the "need" for slavery to build the commercial aspects of the colony was established. In the beginning slaves were white and often criminals or debtors. This did not provide enough labor for the expansion of the commercial endeavors envisioned and this led to chattel slavery being adopted as a practice in 1619.

After this explanation, Ms. Daniel briefly discussed coming to terms with the knowledge that she is a descendant of Earl of Warwick , who operated some of the ships that transported these slaves and the profit center motivation that underlay the endeavor.

As Ms Daniel was proceeding with her research she learned of family members who were abolitionists. But also learned of other family members who were slave owners well into the 1800s. In the course of this research she learned of John Warwick who fathered a son with an enslaved woman, Frederick Warwick. This is the basis of her novel. Ms Daniel met a descendant of Frederick Warwick, who helped her build her knowledge of this part of the family history which included the freeing of Frederick Warwick and the transfer of land and money to allow him to begin an independent life.

Ms Daniel then discussed current tasks that emerged from slavery. This included mechanisms to manage the harm of slavery. She indicated she believes everyone in the current day has benefited from slavery in some way. The primary benefit being the creation of wealth.  

She then discussed reparations. She urged participants to see reparations very broadly not just as monetary. She suggested considering education, societal benefits, policy changes and social supports for epigenetic trauma. She suggested the use of discussion mechanisms such as Truth and Reconciliation Committees and lauded Coming to the Table as a organizational structure for facilitating this.

A question and answer period followed. A recording of the presentation, "Warwick Will," can be viewed

The next meeting will be March 4th at 10:00 PST. It appears the consideration of the nomination of Kentaji Brown Jackson will be an important and ongoing topic for discussion. We will hold an open discussion on this topic, or other news, as it evolves.

On March 18th at 12 noon, the 1619 Project Discussion group will feature an introduction to Coming to the Table, a national organization founded in the 1980’s, with the purpose to bring together Black and White Americans who wish to acknowledge and heal the wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States founding in slavery.Wilson Bell and Allison Thomas, leaders of the local CTTT chapter will tell us about the organization and a little about their personal histories and involvement in the group.

Wilson Bell is a Technical Project Manager in Information technology at Tapcheck, Inc He has worked in several Fortune 100 companies in several different managerial positions and as a consultant in IT. He has also worked as an actor and singer on stage and in film and television. Additionally, he is a Life Coach supporting people to recognize their purpose and value so that they can make their mark on the planet before they leave.

Wilson has served on the boards of the Hollywood West and Sylmar Neighborhood Councils. He was also on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Project Management Institute. He currently serves on the Southern California Pasadena Coming To The Table steering committee. He is currently working on a book based on Facebook posts over the last 5 years.

Allison Thomas is a film/theatre producer and writer. Currently, she is lead producer, with Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures, of a new Broadway musical based on the movie “Dave,” and, with Universal, a musical adaptation of “The Tale of Despereaux.” Allison worked as a producer on the movies “The Tale of Despereaux,” “Seabiscuit,” and “Pleasantville.” 


Allison descends from enslavers in colonial Virginia back to the early 1600s. She is currently writing about her journey to uncover the truth about her enslaver family history. She researched and created a website for the Black descendants of the men, women and children run off Gwynn’s Island, Virginia in 1916, to connect them with their ancestors, many of whom were enslaved by Allison’s family.


She serves on the steering committee for the Pasadena Chapter of Coming to the Table, in addition to managing the BitterSweet blog, and Linked Descendants Writing Pod program.

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