International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, August 23 of each year, the day designated by UNESCO to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade. That date was chosen by the adoption of resolution 29 C/40 by the Organization’s General Conference at its 29th session. Circular CL/3494 of July 29, 1998 from the Director-General invited Ministers of Culture to promote the day. The date is significant because, during the night of August 22 to August 23, 1791 on the island of Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), an uprising began which set forth events which were a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
UNESCO Member States organize events every year on that date, inviting participation from young people, educators, artists and intellectuals. As part of the goals of the intercultural UNESCO project, “The Slave Route“, it is an opportunity for collective recognition and focus on the “historic causes, the methods and the consequences” of slavery. Additionally, it sets the stage for analysis and dialogue of the interactions which gave rise to the transatlantic trade in human beings between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in a number of countries, in particular in Haiti (23 August 1998) and Senegal (23 August 1999). A number of cultural events and debates were organized. In 2001 the Museum of Printed Textiles (Musée de l’impression sur étoffes) in Mulhouse, France, conducted a fabric workshop entitled “Indiennes de Traite” (a type of calico) used as currency in trade for Africans. The International Slavery Museum opened its doors on August 23, 2007 in Liverpool where Slavery Remembrance Day events have been conducted since 2004.