Illustration by Tinuke Fagborun
Slavery Remembrance Day (SRD) returns this year as National Museums Liverpool (NML) and Liverpool City Council recognise this important date commemorating the history and ongoing legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.
This year’s commemoration will take place across a whole weekend, with events from 20 – 23 August. Through a series of activities, talks and events, NML will reflect, remember, and encourage learning from the injustices of the past and examine how we can work together to prevent them from happening again.
Central to the 2022 programme is the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture. This year’s lecture – delivered by Bonnie Greer and special guest Laurella Rincon – will be delivered on 22 August at Liverpool Town Hall.
Bonnie Greer is a playwright, author, critic and broadcaster based in London. Originally from the United States, Bonnie arrived in the UK in 1986 and has featured on BBC Question Time and Newsnight, as well as serving on the boards of several leading arts organisations including the British Museum and the Royal Opera House. Laurella Rincon is the director general of Mémorial ACTe (MACTe), a memorial and museum dedicated to the memory of the transatlantic slave trade on the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe. Together, Bonnie and Laurella will discuss "The Human Revolution of the Middle Passage: The Caribbean; South America. Outside Of The English Speaking World". Tickets are free, and will be available from 26 July at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/srd
Other events include a family day across the International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool on 20 August including dance, drama and creative writing workshops, and tours of the International Slavery Museum on 21 August, along with the opportunity to engage in a community conversation around racist memorabilia and sample traditional ancestral cuisine.
23 August will see a new route for Liverpool’s Walk of Remembrance, with landmarks chosen because of their historical significance. Starting at Williamson Square and weaving through the city with stops at the Bluecoat and Liverpool One’s Old Dock, the walk will be accompanied by a series of performances by Dorcas Seb, Tia Jennings and Ashleigh Nugent.
Mithila Ramagavigan, Participation Producer at National Museums Liverpool, said: “I’m incredibly excited by our 2022 programme of events for Slavery Remembrance Day – it has been a real collaboration with our partners from a vast range of communities across Liverpool. We are a powerhouse of a city with a deep understanding and recognition of the continuing legacy of Transatlantic slavery, and Slavery Remembrance Day is one way in which we can continue striving to make racial equality a reality.”
Slavery Remembrance Day has been marked on 23 August in Liverpool since 1999. This is a significant date as it commemorates an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791. The date has been designated by UNESCO 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 is too often forgotten – or not even acknowledged.
A full itinerary of events for Slavery Remembrance Day 2022 is available at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/srd