The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. I had no idea! It gives people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of slave trade. The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a United Nations observance worldwide but it is not a public holiday.

What do people do?

Each year the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students and artists, to organize events that center on the theme of this day. Theatre companies, cultural organizations, musicians and artists take part on this day by expressing their resistance against slavery through performances that involve music, dance and drama.

judithjamisonEducators promote the day by informing people about the historical events associated with slave trade, the consequences of slave trade, and to promote tolerance and human rights. Many organizations, including youth associations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, actively take part in the event to educate society about the negative consequences of slave trade.

How did it begin?

In late August, 1791, an uprising began in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that would have a major effect on abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion in the area weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence. It pays to rebel! It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade and colonialism.


International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999. This date also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.

It’s very easy to become angry when we think about African-American history, particularly slavery. It’s hard for many to forgive and it is impossible to forget. Forgiveness is something that is not earned but freely given. Forgiveness is just another way of showing love for one another.

 “…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are  many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves  little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”                       

                                                                                                                                                     Luke 7:47-48

Martin Luther King stressed this point during the fight for civil rights. Many thought he was crazy but he made bigger strides than any other Black leader. Love always prevails. God is love. You are love.

Did you know today was the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?