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Slavery Remembrance Day

Posted on Wednesday 21st August 2013
Verene Shepherd giving a speech

Professor Verene Shepherd will give the Slavery Remembrance Day Memorial Lecture

Anthony Walker Foundation and Stephen Lawrence Trust unite for city event

Anthony Walker Foundation and Stephen Lawrence Trust unite for city event

Liverpool is set to unite for Slavery Remembrance Day which takes place this Friday (23 August).

Dr Gee Walker will lead a Walk of Remembrance through Liverpool city centre from noon along Church Street, through Liverpool ONE and into the Albert Dock.

Gee will be joined by Symon Sentain, Chairman of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.  This year is the 20th anniversary of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Mr Sentain, the great-great-grandson of a slave, said: “Slavery Remembrance Day is vitally important to observe as it also provides a time to reflect on those who have not been able to progress, held back by the dead hand of racism, discrimination, missed opportunities and reduced life chances and for us all to remember that the work to eradicate these evils is not yet done.”

This year’s events include the Slavery Remembrance Day Memorial Lecture at Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday 22 August by Professor Verene Shepherd.

Professor Shepherd is a leading Jamaican academic specialising in Caribbean Women’s History, Migration and Diasporas and Jamaican Economic History. In recognition of achievements in academia and women’s movement, Professor Shepherd will be included on the International Slavery Museum’s Black Achievers Wall.  

Slavery Remembrance Day has been commemorated in Liverpool every 23 August since 1999. It is organised by National Museums Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

As well as remembering those lost through the transatlantic slave trade, Slavery Remembrance Day also reminds us of the threat of racism and discrimination in modern society. 

Dr Walker lost her son Anthony, 18, in a racially-motivated attack in Huyton in July 2005. The Walker family set up The Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) following his tragic death.

Claire Benjamin, Head of Communities at National Museums Liverpool said: “Gee is an inspiration and her presence will add something very special to what is always a very moving and poignant day.

“It is also symbolic to have Symon Sentain join us from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in what is the 20th anniversary year of Stephen’s death.

“We hope the people of Liverpool join us as the Walk of Remembrance takes place through the city centre.”

Events this week include:

• Thursday 22 August: Memorial Lecture at Liverpool Town Hall by Professor Verene Shepherd: “Enough done be enough! Women, enslavement and emancipation”. Starts at 6pm. There are some places still available. Booking is essential for this free event: 0151 478 4240. 

• Friday 23 August: Walk of Remembrance (starts noon) through Liverpool city centre and Libation ceremony (starts 1pm) at Albert Dock. Please join us.

• Following the Libation a variety of events take place on Friday 23 August at the International Slavery Museum including the showing of Akwantu: the Journey. This ground-breaking documentary tells the story of the legendary Maroons of Jamaica and their fight for freedom.

Details about all the Slavery Remembrance Day events:

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/slavery|

Notes to editors:

Slavery Remembrance Day

Slavery Remembrance Day has taken place annually in Liverpool on 23 August since 1999. August 23 is a significant date as it commemorates an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791. Slavery Remembrance Day is organised by National Museums Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool City Council. For the last 14 years people have converged on the Albert Dock to remember those affected by slavery during a traditional Libation ceremony.

The Walk of Remembrance has been taking place in Liverpool since 2011.

Memorial Lectures in recent years have been delivered by civil rights campaigner Mr Martin Luther King III, renowned activist and scholar Dr Maulana Karenga, civil rights campaigner Diane Nash and Zimbabwe’s first Black cricketer Henry Olonga. 

International Slavery Museum

The International Slavery Museum opened in August 2007. It is situated on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum at the Albert Dock. It is the only national museum in the world to cover the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies as well as contemporary forms of slavery and enslavement. It is also an international hub for resources on human rights issues and campaigning. 

Liverpool and the slave trade

Liverpool became the major port for the transatlantic slave trade. Liverpool ships were involved in forcibly transporting as many as 1.5 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic from 1699 until the British Parliament passed the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807. As a result, much of the city’s wealth in the 18th and 19th centuries came from the profits made by the enslavement of Africans which cemented the foundations for the port’s future growth. In 1999 Liverpool City Council passed a formal motion apologising for the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and the enslavement of Africans.

About Professor Verene Shepherd

Professor Shepherd is a leading Jamaican academic specialising in Caribbean Women’s History, Migration and Diasporas and Jamaican Economic History. She is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. She has a long association with the women’s movement and research on gender issues. Professor Shepherd is a respected broadcaster. She was also the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

Anthony Walker Foundation:

The Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) was set up in 2006 following the tragic death of Anthony. The mission of the Foundation is to promote equality and diversity through education, sport and arts events and to support criminal justice agencies and local communities to reduce hate crime and build safer cohesive communities.

www.anthonywalkerfoundation.com|

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than three million visitors every year. Our venues are World Museum, Museum of Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.