The Transatlantic Slave Trade is Remembered in London

The first ever national memorial service to remember the victims of the transatlantic slave trade was held in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 21st August.

The event was organised by Slavery Remembrance, an organisation which wants to honour the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. The organisers wanted to host the event now, saying, “in a time where racism and racist attacks are on the rise in the UK and globally we want to tell the world that we love being black”.

They encouraged attendees to wear red, black and green to symbolise black unity. And many of those who attended proudly displayed the colours.

Artists, including musicians, poets and dancers, entertained the thousands of people who attended the event between 12pm — 5pm.

The transatlantic slave trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean between 16th and 19th centuries when an estimated 25 — 30 million people from West Africa were sold into slavery and taken to the Americas and the Caribbean islands.

Despite Britain’s role as a huge profiteer off of the transatlantic slave trade — at its peak in the 18th century, when a record 6 million slaves were transported, Britain was responsible for trading 2.5 million — there isn’t a national commemoration, and this is the first remembrance service hosted in the city, by the descendents.

The transatlantic slave trade played an important part in building the British Empire. Historical records show how the country’s wealthiest families — including former Prime Minster David Cameron’s ancestors — “received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished”.

The organisation writes on its website: “The victims of the transatlantic slave trade are equally important as the victims of the holocaust and WW1 yet do not receive the same recognition or commemoration. Slavery Remembrance has been setup to acknowledge and commemorate the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. For too long they have been sidelined by history, we have set out to change that.”

We can expect to see more events in the future from Slavery Remembrance, and with such a great turnout for their first event, they can only get bigger and better.