The Bicentenary of the Transatlantic “Slave Trade” Legacy

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2008 National Black Members' Conference
16 September 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference will be aware that 2007 was the year of commemorating the beginning of the end of enslavement of Afrikan people. There was a wide range of remembrance events taking place in the UK.

Many, however, missed the fact that it was only the transatlantic trade that ended 200 years ago. This probably increased the death toll as ships would throw Afrikans overboard to die if they thought they were likely to be caught breaking the law. Some believe that the legislation was an attempt by Britain to stop the rest of Europe capitalising on the “trade” in the way they had. The “trade” was not ended until 1834 but the introduction of forced apprenticeship meant that Afrikans were not free until 1833.

Last year gave us an opportunity to raise the profile of Black Abolitionists who are not so well known. Unfortunately on some occasions it turned into Wilberfest, meaning that William Wilberforce was seen as the man who abolished enslavement where he was actually the driving force behind refusing to ensure enslavement ended in 1807.

This conference calls on the National Black Members’ Committee to work with UNISON to work with appropriate organisations: continue to call for reparations;

2.maintain the ongoing remembrance of 1807 and raise the awareness of the legacy by calling for a national public holiday to remember Slavery on 23 August, the date of the Haiti uprising which was the beginning of the end of enslavement;

3.put pressure on the British Government for a full and meaningful apology; make an open acknowledgement of the economic gains and the contribution made by enslavement people during the Transatlantic “Slave Trade”, and encourage the setting up of projects funded by those organisations that gained wealth from enslavement as part of reparations campaign.

6. To publish the research of Kofi Klu.