25 Years of Liverpool's Slavery Remembrance Day Press Release

International Slavery Museum has announced the launch of its 25th Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration with the news that photographer, artist, filmmaker, public speaker and historian, Fiona Compton, will be delivering the keynote speech.

Article Featured Image

International Slavery Museum has announced the launch of its 25th Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration with the news that photographer, artist, filmmaker, public speaker and historian, Fiona Compton, will be delivering the keynote speech. 

Fiona will deliver the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture on Thursday 22nd of August 5.30pm at Liverpool Town Hall. Tickets are available to book here. 

Fiona explores the complexities of identity, heritage and social injustice. Her work surrounds self-empowerment and challenging representation, which has led her work to be part of several public speaking engagements, both locally and internationally.  

Fiona Compton said: "As keynote speaker for Slavery Remembrance Day in Liverpool, I stand on the shoulders of ancestors whose voices were silenced. We reclaim those voices, weaving them into the tapestry of remembrance and resilience. Let us confront the shadows of history with courage, and illuminate a path forward guided by justice, empathy, and solidarity." 


Michelle Charters, Head of International Slavery Museum said: “25 years since the city's first Slavery Remembrance Day, it continues to be an important moment in our busy city to pause and remember the many lives impacted by this abhorrent trade, as well as the many legacies and achievements of people of the African diaspora. 

“We are looking forward to a very special contribution from Fiona on this significant year, as we mark not only the 25th anniversary of our commemorations, but also look to the future and the next chapter for the International Slavery Museum. We have recently shared our vision for the museum in a series of rewarding public consultations. Listening, sharing and collaboration has given the project new momentum, and as we come together once more to mark Slavery Remembrance Day, we are grateful to all the people who are on this journey with us.” 

For 25 years (starting in 1999) Liverpool has marked Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August. This significant date marks an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791. Designated by UNESCO, the date serves as a reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation. 

Liverpool was the European capital of the transatlantic slave trade, responsible for half of Britain’s trade. The ships set sail from Liverpool with goods and franchise, which were exchanged for enslaved men, women and children on the west coast of Africa, who were then taken across the Atlantic on a horrendous journey known as ‘The Middle Passage.’ Slavery Remembrance Day acknowledges this major period of trauma and injustice in world history which has all too often been forgotten – or not even acknowledged. 

Each year Slavery Remembrance Day invites a speaker to deliver the prestigious Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture. Previous speakers have included: Mr Martin Luther King III, award-winning film director Amma Asante, renowned activist and scholar Dr Maulana Karenga, civil rights campaigner Diane Nash, Zimbabwe's first Black cricketer Henry Olonga, poet Lemn Sissay, author and musician Akala, and historian, David Olusoga. 

The theme of this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day is Reflection. For a full programme of events please visit the website. In addition to the memorial lecture the following events will be running as part of the wider Slavery Remembrance Day programme:  

Health, medicine and Transatlantic Slavery: Curatorial Workshop at the Maritime Museum. Tuesday 20th August 2-4pm.  

This workshop invites members of the public to help shape future displays at the International Slavery Museum. It concentrates on artefacts connected to the history of medicine and transatlantic slavery and explores how these should be represented at the museum. The workshop contemplates some of the ways that contemporary health inequalities experienced by Black communities are legacies of transatlantic slavery. 


CSIS Symposium: Space and Place- Building on the Past panel at The University of Liverpool. Wednesday 21st August. Please visit the International Slavery Museum website for further details.  

Curators, scholars, and community-based knowledge makers will reflect on buildings and spaces connected to the representation of slavery and its legacies. Discussions led by Dr Richard Benjamin, Senior Lecturer for Contemporary Museum Practice, Professor Ola Uduku, Head of School at the Liverpool School of Architecture, and Mike Boyle, Liverpool historian and author of “Liverpool Black Heritage: From Granby to Pitt Street,” will focus on how past experiences and new practices can inclusively and equitably shape future museum design and development.  


A Walk of Remembrance Thursday 23rd August 12-2pm.  

This year’s Walk of Remembrance has been extended and will include Williamson Square, Clayton Square, Bluecoat and finally Liverpool One, offering more opportunities to reflect at key landmarks. Along the walk we’ll speak about the journey and hear from influential voices, enjoy live musical performances in partnership with Africa Oyé. The walk will culminate by our libation ceremony at 2.30pm near the Canning Quayside and Dry Docks.  


Find out more about Liverpool Slavery Remembrance Day 2024 including the full programme of events by visiting the website here