Essential information

Date and time: 
Wednesday 23 August | 11am-5pm
National Maritime Museum, Learning space, Nelson Navy Nation gallery, Caird Library & Archive, The Atlantic gallery
Family fun
Talks & courses

Mark the uprising in Haiti that lead to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Join us for a powerful day of commemoration through tours, workshops, performance and song.    

The Powder Monkey: Maritime 1788

Set on-board a slave ship on the middle passage between the coast of West Africa and the Indies, The Powder Monkey tells the often hidden stories of enslaved people, Lascars and English cotton workers.

Working in partnership with The National Maritime Museum and composer Dominique Le Gendre, Brolly’s new opera work The Powder Monkey draws on the archives of the Atlantic Gallery whose subject is the sensitive history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Times:  12.00-12.45 | 14.15-15.00 
Venue:  Atlantic Worlds Gallery 

Opening Ceremony

Singing group Ethno Vox open the day with songs of freedom, solidarity and resistance before Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, Dr Kevin Fewster, welcomes visitors to the day of commemoration. 
Time:  11.00
Venue:  Under the Propeller

Commemoration Ceremony

The closing ceremony of 2017’s International Slavery Remembrance Day takes place by the River Thames at the Water Gates of the Old Royal Naval College. 
Participants are invited to scatter white rose petals onto the river in an act of silent commemoration. 
Time:  15.00
Venue:  Begins at the National Maritime Museum

‘Go Back and Fetch It’ Sankofa Art Workshop

Join artist Merissa Hylton in a creative workshop focused on commemoration and mindfulness using the West African Sankofa. Colour your own Sankofa and join in on a large scale banner which will accompany us on our commemorative walk to the river.  ‘Sankofa’ translates to ‘go back and fetch it’ and symbolises the importance of looking back at our history, learning from it and encouraging us never to forget what our ancestors went through.

Time:  12.00-14.30 
Venue:  Learning Space
Image of Sankofa colour-in bird
Sankofa Creative Co. 2017

Bring the Family Back! 

Explore the cultural legacies of the transatlantic slave trade through board games from across the world with the Caribbean Social Forum.
Time: 12.00-14.30 
Venue: Under the Figureheads | Group Space | Outside (weather permitting) 

John Simmonds: A Sailor’s Trafalgar Story

Discover what life was like for a black sailor in Nelson’s navy through the eyes of John Simmonds. From being taken away from his home in Jamaica, to serving at the Battle of Trafalgar, his moving story reveals the surprising realities of a life at sea. This interactive performance will take you on a journey through the Museum’s galleries and back in time.
Time:  11.30 | 12.30 | 13.30 | 14.30
Venue: Meet in Sammy Ofer wing 

Walking Tour: Black Sailors & Scribes

This walk will look at the impact of African sailors and writers who settled in or visited Greenwich, the effect of enslavement upon their lives and the subsequent growth of this part of London. Due to the gradient before the Observatory, the walk may not be ideal for people with mobility issues.
Times: 13.45-14.30
Venue: Meet in Sammy Ofer wing foyer

Gallery Tour

Meet historian Aaron Jaffer for an interactive tour and discover the bitter history of our favourite sweetener: sugar.

Times: 13.00-13.30 

Venue: Atlantic Worlds Gallery 

The Transatlantic slave trade: A journey into the archive 

Discover archives  relating to the transatlantic slave trade from the Museum’s collection and learn about their significance. 
Time: 12.15-13.00
Venue: Caird Library and Archive 


Bring your own food or make use of the Museum’s two amazing cafés and join us outside for a group picnic. 
Time: 11.45-14.30 
Venue:  Queen’s House Lawn 


Suitable for all ages.


There will be a photographer at this event. If you would not like to be photographed, please inform a member of staff