Jamaica to observe National Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and Slave Trade
Negro Aroused sculpture created by Edna Manley in 1935.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaicans will honour the victims of slavery and the slave trade on Saturday, March 25.

Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen, has signed a proclamation for the annual observance of the ‘National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Transatlantic Trafficking in Enslaved Africans and Chattel Enslavement.’

This is in keeping with the designation of March 25 by the United Nations as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Slave Trade.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, will read the proclamation during a ceremony on Saturday, at the ‘Negro Aroused’ statue at the Kingston Waterfront, before laying a wreath at the base of the structure.

The statue, which symbolises the new respect for the freed slave, was created by late sculptor Edna Manley.

Consultant at the ministry responsible for reparation affairs, Sydney Bartley, said that Minister Grange felt that “it was fitting to establish a National Day for the remembrance of the victims of slavery.”

“So, as of this year and going into the future, we will have this day when we will pause as a nation and think back about the generations, our ancestors who gave their lives so that we, today, can be free to become what we want to be and to run our own government,” he said.

Bartley said that the ceremony, which begins at 9:00 am “will be a solemn commemoration and reflection of what our ancestors experienced.”

Additionally, he said that members of the National Council on Reparations, led by Chair, Laleta Davis Mattis and Deputy Chair Bert Samuels, will pay tribute by throwing carnations into the sea in memory of those who died during the Middle Passage, the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean.

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