Free event

Essential Information

National Maritime Museum
Date and Times Monday 23 August | 10am-5pm
Prices Free

On 23 August 1791, enslaved people on the island of Santo Domingo (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) rose up against French colonial rule.

The uprising played a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.


That's why, on 23 August each year, we commemorate the long struggle for emancipation throughout the world.

Join us at the National Maritime Museum for a day of talks, workshops and performances exploring the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies.

The day will end with an emancipation ceremony, where visitors and performers can join together in a procession from the National Maritime Museum to the River Thames.

All events on the day are free, but due to current COVID-19 guidelines you need a ticket to enter the National Maritime Museum.

Book online in advance to guarantee entry.

Event programme

Event Location Time

Welcome ceremony (live streamed here)

Great Map


Atlantic Worlds intervention Atlantic Worlds gallery From 11am
Storytelling workshops
with Usifu Jalloh
Great Map

11.45am, 1.30pm & 4pm

Explore the Archive
with S.I. Martin

Caird Library 11.45am
Museum tour
with curator Aaron Jaffer
Meet at Tudor & Stuart Seafarers gallery 12pm

Singing workshop
with Ethno Vox

Propeller Space 12.30pm
Stella Dadzie and Karen McLean
In Conversation 
Lecture theatre 12.30pm

A baptism of fire
Performance by Rasheeda Page-Muir

Voyagers gallery

12.45pm & 1.45pm

Quadrille dance Learning space


Launch of Liquid Carbon Atlantic Worlds 1pm
Slavery in Greenwich
Walking tour with S.I. Martin
Meet at Ship in a Bottle 1pm
The Haitian revolution
Lecture with S.I. Martin
Lecture theatre 1.30pm
Quadrille performance North Lawns 2.15pm
Emancipation ceremony Meet at Museum main entrance From 2.30pm

What is International Slavery Remembrance Day?

Between the 1400s and 1800s, 12-15 million men, women and children were forcibly transported from Africa to the Americas.

This day stands as a reminder of the bravery, courage, resilience and determination of enslaved African people who continuously fought for their freedom.

A quote from abolitionist Ignatius Sancho. The quote reads, 'Consider slavery – what it is – how bitter a draught, and how many millions are made to drink it'

It is a time to remember that people fought and died to establish their own freedom and liberation from the tyranny of enslavement.

The day also raises the contemporary legacies of transatlantic slavery, which are manifested in the continued racism and prejudice against Black and Caribbean communities.

UNESCO selected the 23 August to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. 23 August was the day that self-liberated enslaved people on the island of Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) rose up against French colonial rule, and played a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

In 2007, Britain commemorated 200 years since the 1807 Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, which outlawed the trade throughout the British Empire and made it illegal for British ships to be involved in it.

This marked the beginning of the end for the transatlantic traffic in human beings as a legalised trade. This was however, one year of many in the long struggle for emancipation throughout the world.

This illegal trade continued for many years afterwards and slavery itself was not abolished in some countries until the late 1880s.

A digitised collage printed on mirrored aluminium

About the artwork

LIQUID CARBON (2021) is a digitised collage of drawings of water and paintings printed on mirrored aluminium, created by artist Deanio X and commissioned by the National Maritime Museum. It is currently on display in the Museum's Atlantic Worlds gallery.

"The work explores the resilience and resourcefulness of the African diaspora in response to the colonising project of the British empire," explains the artist. "The composite artwork builds upon motifs of blood, culture and memory to evoke a chaotic scene of resistance in the Atlantic Ocean’s middle passage and contemplates how the ripples of history return to meet us in the future."

Seed of the Fruit is a new poem written by Mark Thompson and commissioned by the National Maritime Museum.

In the piece, the Anglo-Jamaican spoken word artist explores both his and Britain's connection to the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.

Find more work by Mark Thompson

World Views: the Transatlantic Slave Trade 

Young Historians Project volunteer Kaitlene Koranteng discusses some of the objects in the Royal Museums Greenwich collection, and what they tell us about the histories surrounding the slave trade.

Sound and memory

Listen to a playlist inspired by International Slavery Remembrance Day.

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