Wednesday, April 9, 2014

UN Celebrates Heroes, Resisters, Survivors of Slave Trade

Press Release
Note No. 6341

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Note to Correspondents



The fifth annual commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade will be observed at United Nations Headquarters under the theme "The Transatlantic Slave Trade:  Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors".  This year’s theme will focus on many of the courageous individuals who, in various ways, resisted slavery and fought for their own freedom and that of others.

The following events are scheduled:

Friday 23 March:  The weekly non-governmental organization briefing will take place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, North Lawn Building from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  It will feature panellists from Africa, North America and the Caribbean in discussion on the theme “Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors” of the transatlantic slave trade.  Featured panellists include historian and writer Sylviane Diouf, Curator of Digital Collections at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Sasha Turner, Assistant Professor of History, Quinnipiac University; Rita Pemberton, History Professor at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and author of several books on the topic of slavery; and Herb Boyd, author, journalist and activist.  The briefing is to be webcast live.  Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Public Information, will moderate.

Weekend of 24-25 March:  Special radio features produced by UN Radio in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Kiswahili and Fanti will be made available on the UN Radio website starting Saturday, 24 March.

Monday, 26 March:  A special commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (25 March) will be convened by the General Assembly President and take place at 3 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall.  Statements will be made by the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy-Secretary-General and regional group chairs.  The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Rick Kittles, the Scientific Director of the Washington, D.C.-based African Ancestry Inc., a genetic testing service for determining individuals' African ancestry via DNA testing.  He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  A number of artists are scheduled to perform at this event.

Tuesday, 27 March:  An exhibition will open in the Main Gallery of the Visitors Lobby at 6 p.m.  It will include images of heroes and activists, original documents, historical illustrated newspapers and artifactsfrom a private 19th century collection, the installation “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, maps and radio interviews.  The exhibition will run until the end of May 2012.

Tuesday, 27 March:  At 6:30 p.m. in the General Assembly Lobby following the exhibit opening, an evening celebrating the cultural and culinary specialties of Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas will take place.  Chef and culinary consultant Scott Barton, Instructor at the Institute for Culinary Education, and doctoral student in Food Studies at New York University, will discuss the Columbian Exchange and explain the historical similarities between the foods and culinary practices of African countries from which enslaved Africans came and the countries to which they were brought.

Wednesday, 28 March:  The documentary Slavery by Another Name:  The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II will be screened in Conference Room 2 of the North Lawn Building from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  The film is based on the Pulitzer-prize winning book of the same name by Douglas A. Blackmon that challenges the belief that slavery in the United States terminated with the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.  It chronicles the ways in which African-Americans were coerced into forced labour in the Reconstructionist South following the Civil War and into the 20th century.  The film’s producer, Sam Pollard, will introduce the film and the screening will be followed by a question and answer session.

Friday, 30 March:  In Conference Room 2 in the North Lawn Building, a global video conference will bring together students from secondary educational institutions in six countries — Bermuda (African Diaspora Heritage Trail), Dominican Republic (Amistad America), Gambia, Ghana, United Kingdom and the United States.  This live interactive forum will aim to:  link the history of the transatlantic slave trade to the places where people live; share local stories about heroes, resisters and survivors to raise global awareness of the wide spread resistance to slavery; consider the legacy of slavery and its link to racism and prejudice; and discuss concrete actions that can be taken to address this problem.

A selection of images and materials is available for download on the Remembrance website at:

Accredited correspondents are invited to cover the events in observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

For more information on the Remembrance events, please e-mail:

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