Thursday, July 06, 2006

Slavery Memorial Day

Respected community activist Esther Stanford has spoken out against the proposed slavery memorial day.

She states that this would be a token gesture by government, and that the African community should choose a date which is relevant to us to commemorate our experience of enslavement, rather than a date which is relevant to the government, who wish to focus on William Wilberforce’s actions.

Click here to read more.

The reason why the trade ended was that it was no longer economically feasible for European ships to trade in African people. The insurance companies were refusing to pay when cargoes were lost, so this trade was no longer financially viable.

Remember that the ship captains often tossed their entire cargoes overboard in order to claim the insurance. The floor of the Atlantic is carpeted with the bones of African people.

Next year, we will mark the 200th anniversary of the ending of the Transatlantic trade in African people. This is obviously an important date for our community. But I agree with Esther - why should we focus on Wilberforce? Enslaved African people fought for their liberation continually. We should not be grateful to Wilberforce or any other white politician for stopping doing what they should not have done in the first place.

"The UN proclaimed August 23 of every year should be recognised as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. This date was chosen in reference to the War of Independence on the night of August 22-23 1791 in Saint-Domingue (today Haiti and Dominican Republic) which was to play a pivotal role in the abolition of chattel enslavement and the emancipation of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean." - Black Britain

Billions of dollars and pounds were made by Europeans from the trade in African people. African people want to mark the end of the trade in a way which reflects our experience, and which preserves our dignity and restores the dignity of our ancestors. We want an apology from Blair and from all of the governments of the countries that profited from our exploitation. More to the point, we want to be financially compensated for the atrocities commited against our ancestors.

See also: Maafa Photographs

2007 Commemoration

Bristol Group's Criticism

Soul Survivors

African Heritage Links

Keywords: Slavery, Enslavement, Slave Trade, Emancipation, African History, African Diaspora

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