Note No. 6523
18 March 2019

Headquarters Exhibition on Slavery in New York to Mark International Day for Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade, 8 March-8 April

A new exhibition, From Africa to the New World: Slavery in New York, will officially open in the Visitors’ Lobby of United Nations Headquarters in New York on 21 March, from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. and will be displayed until 8 April in observance of the International Day or Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Produced by the New York Historical Society in collaboration with the Remember Slavery Programme of the United Nations Department of Global Communications, the exhibition describes the impact that the transatlantic slave trade had on persons of African descent, both free and enslaved, living in New York City during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the role that art played in their struggle for freedom.

The opening will feature remarks by Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications; Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer for the African Union to the United Nations; Michael Frazier, historian for the African Burial Ground National Monument; and Dominique Jean-Louis, historian at the New York Historical Society.

Visitors to the exhibition must register in person at the Visitors’ Check-in Office, at 801 First Avenue at 45th Street.  They must then pass through United Nations security screening at the 46th Street entrance to the main Headquarters building.  Valid photo identification is required.

The United Nations General Assembly will observe the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade with a commemorative meeting in the General Assembly Hall on 25 March at 3 p.m., which will feature remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General, Assembly President and Member State representatives.  The keynote speaker will be artist Christopher Cozier from Trinidad and Tobago.  The meeting will be followed by the Remember Slavery Programme’s cultural and culinary event from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Visitors’ Lobby.  The event will feature Afrobeats and other music from Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean, by Serge Tiendrebeogo, a deejay from Burkina Faso.

The Department of Global Communications will also host and moderate a briefing for civil society organizations and the public on the role of memorials in preserving history, on 28 March, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber.  Organized by the Remember Slavery Programme and the Civil Society Unit, the event will bring together architects, curators and experts of African and Caribbean heritage to discuss how best to preserve, promote and manage sites of memory.  Speakers will include Sherril D. Wilson, professor of Urban Anthropology; Marie-Paule Roudil, Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Liaison Office in New York; Rodney Leon, designer of The Ark of Return; Jacques Martial, President of Mémorial ACTe in Guadeloupe; and Malick Kane, Coordinator for the Gorée Memorial in Senegal.

Visitors to these events must register in advance.  More information is available at:

Visitors will also have the opportunity to see The Ark of Return, unveiled in 2015 on the grounds of the United Nations as the Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Outside of New York, events to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade will be held by the global network of United Nations information centres (UNICs).  Nearly 20 UNICs will be engaging in more than 50 activities, including a screening of the documentary film “1620-1789: From Sugar to Rebellion” that investigates the complicity of European powers in driving the slave trade towards the Caribbean to develop the sugar cane industry, which cost nearly 7 million Africans their freedom.  This film is one of a four-part documentary series titled “Slavery Routes”, produced by CPB Films, Kwassa, LX Films, Arte France, RTBF and RTB.  The series was directed by Daniel Cattier, Fanny Glissant and Juan Gélas.  The film will be made available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

The Education Outreach Section has also produced a number of educational and promotional products for UNICs and the general public, which include a poster exhibit, Remember Slavery: Say It Loud, which features the work of 21 architects of African descent.  It is available in all United Nations official languages as well as Kiswahili and Portuguese.  Other products include a video message by the Secretary-General; “Remember Slavery” posters and pull-up banners in all United Nations official languages, Kiswahili and Portuguese; “Remember Slavery” notepads and stickers; an Ark of Return brochure in all United Nations official languages; and an Ark of Return 2019 wall calendar.

The Day of Remembrance is organized under the mandate of the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme, established in 2007 to educate on the causes, consequences, lessons and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, and to combat racism and prejudice today.  It managed by the Education Outreach Section of the Outreach Division in the Department of Global Communications.

For more information on the exhibition, associated events and the Remember Slavery Programme, please visit, or contact Catharine Smith at:  For media accreditation, please visit

For information media. Not an official record.