SLAVE ROUTE PROJECT. What Next for the Slave Route? TABLE OF CONTENTS. Newsletter N 4

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1 SLAVE ROUTE PROJECT Newsletter N 4 What Next for the Slave Route? The fourth issue of the Slave Route Project newsletter marks the inception of a new phase in the project s development. The 2004 celebration of the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition brought to a close and, in a sense, crowned the first phase of the project. By placing the issue of the slave trade and slavery on the international agenda as a tragedy not only for people of African ancestry but for the whole of humanity, the Slave Route Project has managed to break through the wall of silence and shame built up around one of the greatest tragedies in human history. The first ten years were, above all, a period of exploration that served to determine the scale of research to conduct, the lack of knowledge to address, the frustrations to dispel. In view of the interest aroused and the growing number of initiatives, it was necessary to reposition the project, find its niche and redefine its value. An external evaluation was thus conducted in 2005 by a multidisciplinary team to take stock of progress in order to understand the problems involved in attending to this harrowing memory and to revise the project s priorities. The evaluation s highly encouraging conclusions as well as the insight it provided into the expectations of the population groups most affected have been instrumental in the formulation of a new strategy for the project. Adopted by the Slave Route Project s International Scientific Committee now restructured to make it more operational the new strategy reflects the distinctive nature of the project, which stands at the crossroads of history and memory, at the intersection between scientific research, policy-making and social action. Building on its achievements and breaking new ground by exploring new themes, new geographical areas and new lines of action are the two primary strategic axes for the four years to come. This issue, therefore, provides an update on the project s directions and main achievements. It reports on the initiatives launched by various partners, without whom the Slave Route Project would never have had such an impact. It also previews some of the activities planned for 2007, marking the abolition of the slave trade by Great Britain, which will afford another opportunity for in-depth discussion on slaves resistance movements, the abolition processes, the transition to colonial exploitation and the system s enduring consequences. This opportunity must be taken in order to give this crime against humanity its rightful place in collective memories, research work, school textbooks, museums and on the political agendas and screens of the countries concerned. Ali Moussa Iye Chief Section of Intercultural Dialogue In charge of the Slave Route Project TABLE OF CONTENTS What Next for the Slave Route... 1 Latest News of the Slave Route Project... 2 New Strategy, New Perspectives... 2 Ongoing Activities... 4 Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the UK Slave Trade Abolition... 5 Spotlight on Activities in the Indian Ocean initiatives supported by the Slave Route Project...11 Activities Granted the Slave Route Project label...13 Latest Publications...14 Portrait of Two Activists of the African Diaspora in Asia...14 Focus on a Partner s Activities...15 Looking Ahead...15 From the Exposition TEXTURES, Michael Ravassard UNESCO

2 Latest News of the Slave Route Project 2 Project evaluation: Encouragement for future actions The 2004 celebration of the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition offered an opportunity to review the project s first ten years (1994 to 2004). Following the request of UNESCO Member States, the Swedish company Andante conducted an external evaluation in The evaluation commended the considerable impact made by the project despite its limited budget and highlighted the project s efforts to fulfil UNESCO s role in developing and disseminating knowledge. The most important finding was that the silence has been broken. As a result of associated research activities to collect oral histories, traditions and folklore, a substantial amount of information is available today on the slave trade and its effects in Africa. Likewise, this research has raised awareness on the contributions of African slaves to their host societies, especially in the Americas and the Caribbean. In addition to their positive comments regarding local research initiatives, the evaluators noted the project s work to draw international attention to the overall phenomenon of African enslavement and its consequences. There are now more books published in English, French and Spanish as well as new scientific journals. These advances mean that historians studying world systems can no longer neglect the slave trade, as many did some decades ago. The evaluators also recognized the project s educational outreach activities regarding human rights issues and intercultural sensitivities related to slavery. In particular, the project was commended for its production of multimedia resources, its support for cultural activities and its participation in the development of new museums and monuments in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the United States of America. Lastly, the evaluation underlined the central role played by the Slave Route Project at the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance and in the proclamation of 2004 as the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition. Commemoration activities took place in numerous countries. The commemorative year owes its success to the numerous seminars, newspaper articles and other media coverage, museum exhibitions, and other events often carried out with the assistance of the National Commissions for UNESCO. Challenges The assessment afforded an opportunity not only to reflect on past achievements, but also to identify challenges for the future. One of the project s strengths is its capacity to mobilize researchers through its international network of partners. However, if the project is to continue to break new ground, it must take stock of the latest methodological and paradigmatic shifts in slavery research. This makes it necessary to include younger and up-and-coming researchers in New Strategy, New Perspectives The new strategy the network, while maintaining ties with institutes and scholars that were essential for previous research contributions. Moreover, the project must broaden its focus from one centred on the past to one that links the history of slavery more directly to contemporary issues such as human rights, racism and contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking. Concluding that the core objectives are still relevant for future activities, the evaluators made the following recommendations: (1) prepare guidelines for long-term involvement in research, advocacy and education; (2) restructure the project s administration; (3) strengthen the intersectoral nature of its administration as well as its coordination with other United Nations agencies, in particular UNICEF and ILO, to address current human rights issues; (4) improve methods of historical research; (5) extend project activities beyond the transatlantic trade and address less explored themes; (6) modernize its outreach tools such as the Slave Route project website and publications. Visit our site at: More than ten years after its launch in 1994, an external evaluation was conducted on the Slave Route Project and its conclusions have been used to plot a new course for its second phase. Adopted in February 2006 by the new International Scientific Committee, the aim of the strategy is to address three major concerns voiced by the various project partners: 1) strengthening of the understanding of the universal dimension of the slave trade; and 2) increasing awareness of its effects on modern societies, synergy, and mobilization of partnerships; and 3) improving the interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches to the issue. The new strategy restates the project s three original main goals. Furthermore, it redefi nes the project s main lines of action as follows: the development of scientific research, the production of teaching materials, the promotion of living

3 cultures and expressions derived from slave trade interactions, the preservation of archives and oral traditions relating to the tragedy, the inventory of sites, places and buildings of memory, the promotion of cultural tourism, and the recognition of contributions made by Africa and the African Diaspora to the rest of the world. In each of these lines of action, the strategy recommends a number of activities to increase the project s impact, visibility and complementarity with other initiatives, such as introducing research fellowships to encourage young researchers, developing teaching materials at the sub-regional level and mapping sites of memory in every region. To better discern the full scale of the tragedy, the project s activities are to be stepped up in regions that have received little attention, such as the Arab-Muslim world, Asia and Andean America. It also proposes to explore issues that have been given lesser attention thus far, such as the psychological effects of slavery, the management of memory in the societies derived from slavery, new forms of citizenship and actions to combat discrimination in those multicultural societies. To implement this ambitious strategy the roles and responsibilities of the project s various partners must be clarified, the coordination of activities at UNESCO must be improved and a sound approach to partnership mobilization and communication must be adopted. Action has already been taken in some areas, such as the restructuring of the International Scientific Committee and the widening of geographical areas. For further information on the strategy, visit the website: Restructuring the Project s International Scientific Committee The International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project (ISC) was established in 1994, following the adoption of resolution 27 C/ 3.13 by the 27 th session of the General Conference. This advisory body convened for the first time in Ouidah, that same year, and has held six subsequent meetings in Cuba, Angola, Portugal, Italy and Brazil. Throughout its existence, the Committee has hosted some of the world s most eminent scholars on African enslavement and the African Diaspora. Their counsel has provided crucial guidance for the project s development and raised its international profile. As part of measures taken after the 2005 external evaluation, the ISC was restructured to better enable members to fulfi l their mission. The selection criteria sought to diversify the membership and ensure greater balance in the evaluation of new research areas, partners and publications. Each of its 20 members was appointed by the UNESCO Director-General and together they represent a multiplicity of languages, areas of expertise, institutional associations and countries or regions in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Arab-Muslim world. From 22 to 24 February 2006, the 20 members of the new Scientific Committee convened their inaugural meeting at UNESCO headquarters. In the spirit of information sharing, the meeting opened with a debate on the preservation of memory relating to slavery and the slave trades. It was also an occasion for the members to discuss the new directions for the project s second phase and, in particular, to exchange ideas on how best to move forward in their roles as advisers, ambassadors and partners of the Slave Route Project. The Members of the New Scientific Committee Mr James Anquandah (Ghana) West African archaeologist and President of the Ghanaian Committee for the Slave Route Project Mr Miguel Barnet (Cuba) Writer, expert on Cuban folklore and cultural heritage and Vice-Chairperson of the Slave Route Project ISC Ms Aisha Bilkhair-Khalifa (United Arab Emirates) Sociologist and expert on Arab-African relations, Rapporteur of Slave Route Project ISC Mr Ubiratan Castro Araujo (Brazil) Historian, lawyer and specialist on Afro- Brazilian heritage Ms Isabel Castro Henriques (Portugal) Coordinator of the Portuguese Committee for the Slave Route Project, historian of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade Mr Jocelyn Chan Low (Mauritius) Historian, former director of the Mauritian Cultural Centre and Rapporteur for the Slave Route Project ISC Mr Jean-Michel Deveau (France) Vice-Chairperson of the restructured ISC, historian of colonization and slavery, member of the Slave Route Project ISC since its inception Mr Quince Duncan (Costa Rica) Writer and human rights leader Ms Marta Beatriz Goldberg (Argentina) Specialist on the history Argentine society during the colonial and post-colonial periods Mr Laënnec Hurbon (Haiti) Coordinator of the Haitian Committee for the Slave Route Project Mr Paul E. Lovejoy (Canada) Historian specializing in the world history of slavery, Director of the Nigerian Hinterland project Mr Nestor N. Luanda (Tanzania) Historian and editor of the Journal of the Historical Association of Tanzania Ms Luz María Montiel (Mexico) Anthropologist and originator of the Afroamérica-La Tercera Raíz project Mr Rex Nettleford (Jamaica) President of the Slave Route Project ISC, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, founder of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica Mr Nicolas Ngou-Mvé (Gabon) Specialist on the history of Latin America Mr Kiran Kamal Prasad (India) Anthropologist and activist against forced labour and the exploitation of working children in Afro-Indian communities Ms Anne Remiche-Martynow (Belgium) Sociologist, filmmaker and radio producer Mr David Richardson (United Kingdom) Historian of the slave trade and its economic contribution to Atlantic triangle societies, Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation Ms Sheila S. Walker (United States) Expert on the African Diaspora and member of the Slave Route Project ISC since 1994 Ms Benigna Zimba (Mozambique) Historian, sociologist and Vice-President of the Slave Route Project ISC 3

4 4 Ongoing Activities Tracing routes of memory in the Caribbean A project designed to identify and preserve «Places of Memory for the Slave Route in the Caribbean» was launched in May 2006 in Havana (Cuba) at a meeting organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, in close cooperation with the Slave Route Project. The meeting, held from 17 to 19 May 2006, brought together experts and representatives from the region (Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Aruba) to discuss a strategy aimed at disseminating knowledge on tangible and intangible heritage related to the transatlantic slave trade and slavery and their major impact on the history of the Caribbean. Drawing on the experience of other regions, the participants established a set of methods and criteria for identifying, recording, evaluating, preserving and publicizing features and vestiges, such as places, sites, buildings and objects, which bear witness to this tragic history. A team will be set up in each country to conduct such research and in order to raise public awareness on the importance of the past for understanding Caribbean societies. The research findings, whose aim will be to highlight the shared heritage of the peoples of the region, will be used to map routes of memory in the Caribbean. For further information, contact Frederic Vacheron, UNESCO Office in Havana DVD on «Slave Routes»: A Global Vision As part of the new strategy s emphasis on making better use of technological outreach tools, the Slave Route Project is developing an educational DVD Slave Routes: A Global Vision, to present the histories and diverse heritages stemming from the global phenomenon of African enslavement. Aimed at a general audience, the film s compilation of images, footage, interviews with experts in the fi eld and historical narration will provide an overview of African displacements through slavery. Its scope moves beyond the trauma of slavery to exemplify its victims struggle for human dignity through acts of resistance and the eventual abolition of slavery an achievement which remains today a crucial reminder of the power of grassroots organization and global humanitarianism. Through a visual exploration of the African Diaspora s multiplicity of cultures, spiritual and artistic expressions and the introduction of technology and knowledge from their original communities into new environments, the film will also show how African slaves and their descendants helped to shape the modern world. An excerpt of the documentary is scheduled to be shown at the 2007 Zanzibar International Film Festival. (Please see p. XI) From Oblivion to Memory in Central America This project proposal is a follow-up to two initiatives organized by the UNESCO Office for Central America: a workshop on Raising Awareness of Slavery and its Impact on Present Society, held in Panama in August 2004; and a Sub-regional Workshop on Afro-descendents, organized in San José in August The project aims to break the silence that has prevailed in Central America on the subject of slavery. It will initially compile existing historical analyses of the causes and dynamics of the trade in slaves, their strategies to gain freedom and the role of African people and Afrodescendants in the construction of regional societies. This subject has been ignored and obscured within official Central American history and altogether excluded from school textbooks. This proposal is the fruit of the proactive dynamic created by those working in civil society sector that are concerned about the rights and social conditions of Afro-descendants in Central America. As part of their struggle for the recognition of rights, various organizations working together at the national coalition and federated at the regional level by ONECA (La Organización Negra Centroamericana) have called for priority to be given to the creation of educational resources that acknowledge the history of Afrodescendants. The project will produce a series of didactic materials to train teachers and to lobby government institutions in the education field, the ultimate goal being the integration of the role Haiti. Mélodi in front of Sans-Soucis Castle K.M. Pagé

5 of Afro-Central American people into the official history taught formally in education centres. Meetings for researchers and leaders will be held in the second half of 2007, in cooperation with the Social Science Research Institute (University of Costa Rica) and ONECA. For more information, please contact Virginie Accatcha, UNESCO Office in San José Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the UK Slave Trade Abolition 2007: Focus on Commemoration of the Bicentenary 25 March 2007 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the Parliamentary Bill passed to abolish the slave trade in the former British Empire. The 1807 parliamentary ratification of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was the culmination of years of grass-roots activism, research and political lobbying by a broad coalition of former slaves, religious and political leaders including the British Antislavery Association, and everyday citizens who believed that the Enlightenment principles of humanity and universal liberty were applicable to all. In response to the mobilization of public support in 1806 long-time anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and Charles Fox lobbied the House of Commons to end the slave trade while Lord Grenville sought support for the measure in the House of Lords. One year later, the Parliament passed the 1807 bill, which criminalized British involvement in the trade. In December 2006, a United Nations resolution, introduced by Caribbean countries and supported by the British Government was adopted to commemorate the importance of the Bicentenary of this pivotal event in the advancement of global humanitarianism and to organize activities throughout A number of initiatives and activities in Britain and various Commonwealth States will raise awareness on the history of the slave trade, its effects and the existence of forms of servitude today. On the following page, we would like to highlight several events planned with the support of the SLR project Bicentenary Activities Activities sponsored by the Office of the Mayor of London (1) Unveiling of a Slavery Memorial Statue and the proclamation of Slavery Memorial Day. (2) Two major international conferences on the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade: political, historical, psychological, cultural, educational and ideological. (3) A major concert on 23 August to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. (4) A student and teacher contest to encourage students to actively participate in events aimed at breaking the silence on the tragedy. Drama and exhibition Turning the Tables : London and the Slavery Legacy Touring in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Barbados (under discussion Bahamas, Jamaica and Ghana). In close cooperation with the Museum of London, Iziko Museums (South Africa), the Barbados Museum, the Historical Society in Bridgetown and the Museum in Docklands (London) will mount a travelling exhibition of museum objects associated with the abolitionists Buxton, Wilberforce, Macaulay (second Governor of Freetown) and Lushington. The exhibition will be accompanied by a play by leading playwright John Matshikiza on the abolition of slavery and the contemporary themes of human rights and freedom. The intention is to use these events as a catalyst to shed light on the part played by ordinary men and women in the United Kingdom, both black and white, as well as actions taken by enslaved Africans to overcome their oppressors. The Buxton Table, at which negotiations regarding abolition took place Museum in Docklands (London) 5

6 Liverpool Opening of the National Museum and Centre for the Understanding of Transatlantic Slavery On 23 August 2007, the International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, National Museums Liverpool will inaugurate the International Slavery Museum, in commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade. The museum will expand its popular Transatlantic Gallery into a museum dedicated to global slavery. In a later phase (projected for 2010), it will establish a National Museum Centre for the Understanding of Transatlantic Slavery intended to house both a public-oriented resource and activity centre and an academic research institute. The Centre will be an integral part of the visitor experience to the Slavery Museum. The museum and the resource centre will share premises with the Merseyside Maritime Museum at Liverpool s Albert Dock, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Joseph Project, Ghana In 2007, year of the 50th anniversary of the Ghana s independence, the Ghanaian Government intends to celebrate African excellence and to inaugurate The Joseph Project. The project was conceived by the Ghanaian Ministry of Tourism, which oversees activities implemented by the National Committee for the Slave Route Project. It aims to consolidate relations between the Diaspora and Africa, fostering healing and reconciliation through a reflection on the impact of this tragic past on both Africans and descendants while, equally, looking forward to new paths to development. In addition to its celebration of the country s independence, the Joseph Project will commemorate the bicentenary of the abolition of the Slave Trade in the United Kingdom. Within this framework, Ghana will spearhead a series of activities, actions and interactions to re-establish Africa as a continent for all its peoples, both current citizens and descendants within the Diaspora. 6 Libation Ceremony at Liverpool Pier Head 2004, Ron Davis National Museums Liverpool 2004

7 Adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution for 2007 At the initiative of the Jamaican Government, the UN General Assembly at its 61st session adopted the Resolution 217A (III) to commemorate the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade marks 200 years since the UK Parliament passed the 1807 Bill to abolish the slave trade in the former British Empire. Throughout the year, a number of initiatives and activities in Britain and various Commonwealth States are planned to take place throughout the year in collaboration with the UNESCO Slave Route Project to raise awareness on the history of the slave trade, its effects and the existence of forms of servitude today. 1 Resolution 217 A (III). A/61/L Recalling that the trans-atlantic slave trade, which operated between the fifteenth and late nineteenth centuries, involved the forced transportation of millions of Africans as slaves, mostly from West Africa to the Americas, thereby enriching the imperial empires of the time, Honouring the memory of those who died as a result of slavery, including through exposure to the horrors of the middle passage and in revolt against and resistance to enslavement, Recognizing that the slave trade and slavery are among the worst violations of human rights in the history of humanity, bearing in mind particularly their scale and duration, Deeply concerned that it has taken the international community almost two hundred years to acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and that they should always be deemed so, Recalling that slavery and the slave trade were declared a crime against humanity by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 8 September 2001, Acknowledging that the slave trade and the legacy of slavery are at the heart of situations of profound social and economic inequality, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice, which continue to affect people of African descent today, Recalling paragraphs 98 through 106 of the Durban Declaration and emphasizing, in particular, the importance of the provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, and compensatory and other measures at the national, regional and international levels aimed at countering the continued impact of slavery and the slave trade, Recognizing the knowledge gap that exists with regard to the consequences created by the slave trade and slavery, and with regard to the interactions, past and present, generated among the peoples of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, including the Caribbean, Welcoming the work of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which aims to correct this knowledge gap, and looks forward to its report in due course, Recalling resolution 28 adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its thirty-first session, proclaiming 2004 as the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition, and recalling also 23 August as that Organization s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, Noting that 2007 will mark the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the trans-atlantic slave trade, which contributed significantly to the abolition of slavery, 1. Decides to designate 25 March 2007 as the International Day for the Commemoration of the Two-hundredth Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade; 2. Urges Member States that have not already done so to develop educational programmes designed to educate and inculcate in future generations, including through school curricula, an understanding of the lessons, history and consequences of slavery and the slave trade; 3. Decides to convene, on 25 March 2007, a special commemorative meeting of the General Assembly on the International Day for the Commemoration of the Two-hundredth Anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; 4. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach, with the involvement of Member States and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to appropriately commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the trans-atlantic slave trade; 5. Also requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session a special report on initiatives taken by States to implement paragraphs 101 and 102 of the Durban Declaration aimed at countering the legacy of slavery and contributing to the restoration of the dignity of the victims of slavery and the slave trade. 7

8 8 Spotlight on Activities in the Indian Ocean Inventorying sites and places of memory The project on the inventory of slavery-related sites and places of memory on the islands in the south-west Indian Ocean Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues and Seychelles began in 2006, following a programme carried out in the region to compile oral traditions linked to the slave trade. The three-year programme, funded by UNESCO and led by the UNESCO Chair in Reunion, was concluded with the 2004 publication of its results and the proceedings of the international symposium, Oral Memory and Slavery in the Islands of the South-Western Indian Ocean. This preliminary work of cataloguing and preserving oral traditions has paved the way for current plans to produce a comprehensive inventory of places and sites of memory relating to the Indian Ocean slave trade, which will be instrumental in fi lling the gaps in written records. A common set of methods and criteria for the selection of places and sites was created in co-operation with regional experts so as to harmonise the work of the various research teams on each island. This methodical approach will better understand diverse aspects of the region s slave trade and slavery, which must take into account the system of indentured labour introduced after slavery abolition. The inventory will make it possible to find previously unknown relics and slave markets, to map out routes of memory and to develop educational materials to teach island residents about slavery s legacy. For more information, contact Tim Curtis, Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Office in Dar-es-Salaam: Marking the slave route in the Indian Ocean Launched in 2004 by the UNESCO Chair in Reunion with the support of the Slave Route Project, the goals of the Stelae of Memory project are to mark out the route of the Indian Ocean slave trade and shed light on the links between the Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, the African mainland and India. In 2004, two stelae designed by regional sculptors were erected and an endemic garden was planted in places of memory in both Fort Dauphin (Madagascar) and Saint Paul (Reunion) to symbolize the interwoven history of these two islands. A garden of memory has since been created as part of the project within the walls of an old slave warehouse on Mozambique Island a UNESCO World Heritage site to commemorate the historic ties between the Mascarene Islands and the African mainland. During the fourth phase of the Stelae of Memory project, a symbolic monument will be erected in 2008 in India, a country that was not only a destination for slaves but also a supply source, and became a hub of the slave and coolie trades. Stelae of Memory , Saint Paul, Reunion Sudel Fuma

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