Slavery Remembrance Day
The annual Slavery Remembrance Day is held on 23 August. On this day in 1791 an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti) began. It was a crucial event in the fight to end the European transatlantic slave trade. The date has been designated by UNESCO as Slavery Remembrance Day, a reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation.
Our Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration acknowledge a major period of trauma and injustice in world history, which is too often forgotten. The events enable us to remember and reflect upon the millions of lives that were stolen through enslavement. It also allows us to consider the many legacies and achievements of people of African heritage throughout the diaspora.
Slavery Remembrance Day events
In 2016 our annual celebrations included:
The programme for Slavery Remembrance Day 2017 will be announced soon.
See highlights from previous years in our picture gallery.
Why is Slavery Remembrance Day important?
This film was made by young people working with Jernice Easthope for Slavery Remembrance Day 2016. Read a transcript of this video
Slavery Remembrance Day is important because it helps us to:
- Commemorate the lives and deaths of the millions of enslaved Africans and their descendants who were central to the rise of Britain as an industrial power.
- Remember that we live with the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade and the enslavement of Africans, such as global inequalities, racism and discrimination.
- Celebrate the resistance, rebellion and revolution that ended the transatlantic slavetrade and the enslavement of Africans, as well as the rise of popular movements for civil rights and social justice.
Resistance to injustices and discrimination is a central theme of the International Slavery Museum and that is why we fully support the continued observance of this important event.
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Have we done enough to remember 23 August? Historically, the transatlantic slave trade is well understood, but what about today?
UNESCO declared that 23 August should be observed as Slavery Remembrance Day in 1998. That makes 2016 its 18th year in observation.
I think it is incredibly important that we remember Slavery Remembrance Day because it has so many global impacts on the world that we live in. So transatlantic slavery went on for around 400 years and you can’t have that sort of thing happening for 400 years without it having a lasting consequence; and it’s not just on the African continent but also in Europe and the Americas too. So the world that we live in, the Britain that we know is built on the back of transatlantic slavery.
There’s a lot to learn from history and it’s really important to reflect on things that have happened in the past.
If you look throughout the museum we’re in today, there are a lot of stories of people who have relatives and ancestors.
I did not really know Liverpool’s involvement in it, until I came along yesterday and saw the kind of maps and information about the ships and the port and how the dock was used for the slave ships.
I think the exhibit that I’ve seen today does help.
I really never was aware that Liverpool was a starting point for that and it was interesting for me to understand.
The significance of the day is the Haitian Revolution on 23 August so, yes, there are so many links and important to remember everyone involved really.
I think that the event (Slavery Remembrance Day) is a good start but it needs to get bigger and bigger in order for people to keep on learning about these things.
I think we should continue to remember Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August.