American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has written a letter to Jan Björklund, the Swedish Minister of Education, in angry reaction to the mock “slave auction” that was enacted by students at Lund University.

The "auction", where some students had been painted black and wore chains, were sold as "slaves", took place during a costume student party in April. Jesse Jackson urges Björklund to take action for Swedes to become more aware of Sweden's role in the slave trade. Swedish ships did take part in the so-called triangular trade route where slaves from West Africa were taken to North America. Swedes were also involved in the trade itself in Africa as well as in the Caribbean.


Jan Björklund says in a press statement that the incident has been reported to the police, and that he is confident the management at the University has raised the issue. He says the incident was "lacking in judgment" and adds that "slavery is a dark chapter in the history of mankind that we never should forget."

The issue has quickly become top news all over Sweden. What may have been a tasteless prank and completely inappropriate but nevertheless, hopefully intended as just that, a harmless student prank, has created waves even in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Read the Lund students' own online news on the issue here Lundagård (in English)