London Mayor Ken Livingstone was joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, MPs Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott as well singer Beverley Knight this morning at the first London memorial day to remember “the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade”.
See images from the memorial
- Mayor Ken Livingstone
- Mayor Ken Livingstone and Revd Jesse Jackson
- Ben Okri, Beverley Knight, Mayor Ken Livingstone, Jesse Jackson
- Mayor Ken Livingstone and Director-General of UNESCO sign their statements, with Revd Jesse Jackson, Diane Abbott MP, Dawn Butler MP and guest speakers
The event was held in partnership with UNESCO and is the first of what organisers have promised will be an annual event. The Mayor used the event to call for an annual national day of remembrance.
Mayor Livingstone expressed “great pride” to launch the event adding “I agree with John Prescott who earlier this year, as the then Deputy Prime Minister, called for an annual national memorial day of commemoration.’
The Mayor said an annual memorial “will ensure we never forget one of the most horrific episodes in human history, which also constructed an edifice of racist ideas towards black people that still have to be confronted.”
More than 12 million people were forcibly transported and subjected to horrifying conditions, and several million people were directly murdered as a result of the transatlantic slave trade. A number of organisations across the UK have backed the Mayors call for a national memorial day has attracted wide support from many including Bristol and Hull councils.
London MP Diane Abbott “it is excellent that London is establishing an annual memorial day and I am in full support of a national day of remembrance. Britain was one of the first countries in Europe to abolish slavery.”
“However, the first country in the world to abolish slavery was Haiti, which fought a revolution to do so under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture. It is therefore fitting that we use august 23rd, the anniversary of the Haitian revolution, as the date for our memorial.”