Note No. 6539
11 November 2020

United Nations Will Host Online Discussion about Restoring Dignity to Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade through Preserving Burial Grounds, 19 November

The United Nations will host an online discussion entitled “Unveiling the Past” on 19 November, at 10 a.m. EST.  The speakers will consider the significance of the preservation of burial grounds of those enslaved by the transatlantic slave trade, the ethical questions raised in disturbing these sacred grounds, and the challenges facing historians writing the history of the transatlantic slave trade and histories of the men, women and children lost to this brutal practice.

The speakers invited are Peggy King Jorde, a cultural projects consultant and Loeb Fellow, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, United States, and Ciraj Rassool, Senior Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.  Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, Department of Global Communications, will moderate the discussion.

Ms. King Jorde took the lead in advocating and shepherding New York City in the creation of what became New York’s African Burial Ground Memorial and Interpretive Centre.  She is now an advocate for the preservation of the African burial ground discovered on Saint Helena Island.  The island is an important marker of the Middle Passage of the transatlantic slave trade, located midway between Africa and the New World on the routes used by slave traders.

Professor Rassool has written widely on public history, visual history and resistance historiography.  He has served on the Human Remains Advisory Committee of the Minister for Arts and Culture, South Africa.  He has previously chaired the Scientific Committee of the International Council of African Museums (AFRICOM) and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the study of the Physical Anthropology Collection “Felix von Luschan” at the Museum of Ethnology at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany.

The event is organized by the Remember Slavery Outreach Programme.  The event is open to the public and will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams.  To register, please visit:

The Remember Slavery Programme, managed by the Education Outreach Section, was established by the General Assembly in 2007 to further remembrance of and learning about the causes, consequences, lessons and legacy of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  As such, the Programme raises awareness of the slave trade’s legacy of racism and the need to challenge contemporary prejudice.

To learn more about the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme, please visit

Media contact:  United Nations:  Cathy Smith, email:

For information media. Not an official record.