Slavery Remembrance Day events 2004

Cathy Tyson

The 2004 commemorations were special because the United Nations marked this year for 'commemoration of the struggle against slavery and its abolition'. It was also the tenth anniversary of non-racial democracy in South Africa.

The programme included:

  • Slavery Remembrance Day memorial lecture. This year's lecture, entitled 'The Burden of Memory', was delivered by French and Haitian historian and art curator, Florence Alexis
  • People of faith mark Slavery Remembrance Day. A special event at St Nicholas Church (Liverpool parish church), organised in collaboration with the Merseyside Interfaith Group. This event featured readings, teachings and scripture calling for social and racial justice.
  • Liverpool commemorates Slavery Remembrance Day. This annual ceremony began with a libation led by Chief Angus Chukuemaka. Cathy Tyson compered the event, with special guests Courtney Griffiths QC and Yvonne Brewster OBE, and performances by the River Niger Orchestra, Tayo Aluko, Sue Yo, Ann Lopez and local school children.

Biographies of special guests

Florence Alexis

Florence Alexis was born in Paris in 1951 to a Haitian family. She is a direct descendant of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the former slave and later first chief of state who helped free the country from French rule. Her father, the novelist Jacque Stephen Alexis, was killed by the armies of the Du Valier dictatorship in 1961.

Florence is a writer, lecturer, historian and exhibition organiser, with a keen interest in African arts, especially contemporary work. She developed the travelling exhibition on Haiti and Slavery that has been widely acclaimed across Europe.

Florence is involved in the Slavery Remembrance movement in France.

Courtney Griffiths QC

Courtney Griffiths QC is widely recognised as one of Britain's leading QCs. He is also our most eminent Black barrister, head of a law chambers, an honorary lecturer in law and the Chair of the Bar Council?s Public Committee.

Yvonne Brewster OBE

Yvonne Brewster OBE is one of the leading lights in the developmental theatre scene in Britain and Jamaica. She came to Britain in 1956 and later attended drama school. In 1985 she founded the Talawa Theatre in London, which gave Black actors the opportunity to perform the European classics. In Jamaica Yvonne set up the island's first theatre company ' The Barn' which is still producing today. As well as theatre she has worked on international hits in both TV and Radio.