By Frederick H. Lowe
International Slavery Remembrance Day will be held on August 20 in London’s Trafalgar Square three days before it will be observed on August 23rd elsewhere in the world to remember the millions of black victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery’s eventual abolition.
The solemn occasion will include a national memorial to honor victims of the slave trade, individuals who supporters argue are victims of a black holocaust, claiming 14 million black lives over 400 years.
The celebration in Trafalgar Square also will promote International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, which is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO).
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, including Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and Senegal on August 23, 1999, although it is not a paid holiday.
During the night of August 22 to August 23, 1791, on the island of Santo Domingo (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), an uprising began, sparking the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Ships involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade transported between 10 million and 12 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th century.
It was the second of three stages of the so-called triangular trade in which arms, textiles, and wine were shipped from Europe to Africa, slaves from Africa to the Americas, and sugar and coffee from the Americas to Europe.
Britain was involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade for 245 years, transporting more 3.4 million Africans to the Americas.
The British Parliament abolished slavery in 1833 except in certain territories.
The Portuguese, another leading slave trading country, abolished slavery in 1761.
In addition to Britain and Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden participated in the slave trade.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich hosts an annual commemoration event on 23 August which closes with a silent ceremony on the banks of the River Thames in England.