17 March 2011
Press Release
Note No. 6295

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

The Transatlantic Slave Trade:  The Living Legacy of 30 Million Untold Stories


to Be Highlighted in a Series of Activities at UN Headquarters


The fourth 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:  The living legacy of 30 million untold stories".  This year's theme resonates with the continuing and new scholarship that reinterprets the history and the legacy of the Africans who were enslaved during the transatlantic trade and their contribution to building the societies in which they lived. 

The following events will take place at United Nations Headquarters:

Monday 21 March:  The film Traces of the Trade will be screened in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, North Lawn Building, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  It chronicles the journey of some of the descendants of the largest slave trading family in the United States who retrace the triangle of the trade from Rhode Island to Ghana to Cuba, and uncover the vast extent of complicity in the slave trade.  The film-maker, a descendent of the De Wolfe family will be present to answer questions from the audience. 

Tuesday, 22 March:  the Living Legacy Exhibition will open in the Main Gallery of the Visitors Lobby at 6 pm, comprising a mixed media installation by a Caribbean-American artist conveying a mystical recreation of the Middle Passage; a triptych by a West African artist illustrating the journey of a slave ship and through its title asks the simple question "Why?", and a collection of artefacts and historic documents from The Freeman Institute demonstrating not only the inhumanity but also the insidious extent of the slave trade.  The inauguration of the exhibit will be followed by an evening that celebrates African and Caribbean culture and culinary specialties.

Wednesday, 23 March:  A one-day global video conference for teachers, curriculum supervisors and administrators at the primary and secondary levels from countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and North America will take place from 9 am to 4 pm in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.  The conference will focus on new research, curricula and teaching of the transatlantic slave trade.

Thursday, 24 March:  The weekly NGO (non-governmental organization) Briefing, which will focus on “The Transatlantic slave trade: The living legacy of 30 million untold stories”, will take place from 10:15 am to 12:15 pm in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

Friday, 25 March:  The special commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day of Remembrance will take place on Friday, 25 March, at 10 a.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.  Statements will be made by the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and representatives of regional groups.  The keynote address will be delivered by the first African-American President of an Ivy League University in the United States, Dr. Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University.  The Brown family, after whom the University is named, were slave traders. 

Press Conference:  A press conference will be held in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at 12:45 p.m.  Panellists will include Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, Chairman, Steering Group of the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; Ambassador Milan Jaya Nyamrajsingh Meetarbhan of Mauritius, Chairman, African Group; Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; and actress and singer Ms. Melba Moore of the United States.  The conference will be moderated by Stephane Dujarric, Director, News and Media Division, Department of Public Information.

Concert:  The Living Legacy concert will be staged in the General Assembly Hall on Friday evening from 7–9 p.m.  It will feature prominent artists including Melba Moore and Randy Weston of the United States; Morgan Heritage of Jamaica; Aurelio Martinez of Honduras; Khaira Arby of Mali; and a cultural group from Equatorial Guinea. 

A selection of images and materials is available for download on the Remembrance website at:  www.un.org/events/slaveryremembranceday.

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:  fennouh-chaloub@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record