International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
On the night of the 22 to 23 August 1791, men and women torn from Africa and sold into slavery in Santo Domingue (now known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic), rose up against the slave system and won their freedom. The revolution was led by former enslaved African and General, Toussaint L’Ouverture, and saw Haiti become the first independent sovereign nation state of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation state in the western hemisphere to have defeated three European superpowers (Britain, France and Spain), and the only nation state in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt.
The uprising played a crucial role in the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and greatly impacted the establishment of universal human rights, for which we are all indebted. In 1998 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), designated the 23 August as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
Since 2016 Slavery Remembrance has held Sankofa Day™, an annual national memorial in London’s Trafalgar Square to mark this day, celebrate the great Ayitian (Haitian) Revolution and remember and honour the victims of the Transatlantic Human Trafficking and Enslavement Trade. Sankofa Day™ is affectionately known as the people’s memorial, until our memorial there had been no truth and reconciliation process for this heinous piece of our shared history. Sankofa Day is the first steps in the truth, healing and reconciliation process done for the people by the people. #TimeToRemember.
Those taken from Africa were not slaves, they were doctors, priests, musicians, merchants, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who were enslaved by their fellow man.
It is not wrong to go back for that which we have forgotten
The Sankofa is linked to the African proverb “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”
Sankofa is depicted by one of two symbols: a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back, or as a stylised heart shape.
The Remembrance Sankofa™ encompasses both symbols as well as other symbols including fifteen circles running down the neck of the bird symbolising the 15+ million people enslaved during this period.
Buy your Remembrance Sankofa badge from just £1 and support the Sankofa Day national memorial.
Time to remember
Between 15 and 28 million men, women and children were taken from Africa and sold into slavery.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade is one of humankind’s greatest atrocities and perhaps, in reference to scale, the most heinous crime man has committed on fellow man. It spanned over 400 years, involved between 15 and 28 million (possibly a lot more) African men, women and children and was brought about by several European countries including Portugal, Spain, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.
Those enslaved were taken all over the world including America, Brasil and the Caribbean, resulting in major shifts in the developmental path and ethnic makeup of all countries involved.
Slavery Remembrance is a national organisation established in 2016 to acknowledge and honour the victims of the Transatlantic Human Trafficking and Enslavement Trade, to celebrate the great Ayitian (Haitian) revolution and to promote UNESCO’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The effects of slavery are arguably the single largest incident in reshaping and defining the world we see today and can no longer be overlooked.
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