International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition


The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is an international day celebrated on 23 August of each year, the day designated by UNESCO to remember the transatlantic slave trade. The night of 22-23 August 1791, in the western part of the island of Saint Domingue (Haiti) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a major role in the destruction of the transatlantic slave trade.

 The Director-General of UNESCO invites the Ministers of Culture of all Member States to organise events every year on that date, involving the entire population of their country and in particular young people, educators, artists and intellectuals.


The colonial powers of Western Europe primarily exploited the transatlantic slave trade. The slave trade bought men, women and children who had been kidnapped, mainly from Africa to labour as slaves in colonial settlements in the Caribbean, and other regions of the world in inhumane conditions. These ships returned home with cargoes of sugar, rum, tobacco, and other items. Around 500,000 people were enslaved in the British Colonies by the 1790s. Enslaved people were forced to toil on plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas.

By the end of slavery, millions had lost their lives. This day is a day for reflection on the extremely horrific experiences of the millions of people who were violently taken from their homes. We must use this opportunity to educate ourselves and others on the aftermath of the Slave Industry, which are still felt today. In a world where people continue to be exploited, it is right to remember the actions of those who fought to end an inhumane industry. By observing this day, we acknowledge the pain and trauma experienced by the enslaved Africans and pay our homage and respects to their strength.

The history of the slave trade is one marked with pain and cruelty, but also courage, freedom and pride. We believe it’s important to remember this period in history as all humanity is part of this story both in its good and bad deeds.

One of the ways in which this day promotes education and awareness is through the use of memorial sites and museums dedicated to the history of slavery. For instance, the international slavery museum in Liverpool, is dedicated to showing its visitors the issues surrounding slavery and highlighting the contributions the enslaved Africans had in our history.

To find out more

The Museum of Greenwich is also showcasing a day full of events, talks and workshops free for anyone to participate in. The day will include singing workshops, games, art, performances and a talk by Rasheeda Page-Muir. ( )

Sade Carrington – Burke
D&I Assistant

 For more information, please contact Helen in the DEI Team:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Champion of Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]


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