End of Enslavement Memorials - 08/08/2020
On 8th Aug 2020, a group of friends, family and I came together to honour all the people who contributed to ending the enslavement of Africans. We aimed to challenge the common narrative in Britain where the oppressors became the saviours, virtually overnight. A narrative which is debilitating to the descendants of the oppressors and the descendants of the enslaved.
It was a beautiful day. We give thanks to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London for removing the statue of the Slave Trader Robert Milligan outside the museum of London to make way for our tribute. On the day we prayed, we sang, we danced and we created a tribute to the Haitian ancestors Adbaraya Toya, Toussaint Louverture. We also honoured Queen Nzinga, Nanny of the Maroons, Nat Turner, William Wilberforce and all the people who resisted enslavement.
In light of the Black Lives Matter protests, we wanted to create an event where all people felt welcomed to contribute. The End of Enslavement is something we can all celebrate.
The memorial we built challenged the common narrative on the ending of enslavement. In British schools, we are taught slavery was a bad thing and then moved swiftly on to heavily focus on the British abolitionist and how the conscience of the nation changed.
A more accurate narrative includes the beloved Haitian ancestors, who played a more significant role in ending enslavement. The successful African revolution in 1791 in the French slave colony of Saint Domingue, gave birth to Haiti, the first Africa republic. This caused ripples in other slave colonies in the Americas. Insurrections increased. Plantations were burned down Europeans were losing profits, slavery became less profitable and the voices of abolitionist became louder.
Racism was used to dehumanise Africans. Africans could then be enslaved without affecting the conscience of European nations. When slavery ended nothing significant was put in place to help former Enslavers overcome racist values nurtured over hundreds of years of enslaving. Racism was left to mutate and evolve over generations through colonialism, segregation, civil rights, institutions and the media. It is traumatic to be nurtured to hate for hundreds of years.
Please share this, especially with the descendants of enslaved Africans. One of my saddest experiences of racism I experience was from my nephew. He said he was ugly because his skin was black. He was 8 years old at the time. Descendants of Enslaved Africans need to know about Haiti and their history before Enslavement.
We cannot depend on the governments and institutions to teach the descendants of Enslavers about Haiti. It is uncomfortable to look at our ancestors in a bad light because we feel they are a part of us. If we appreciate we all products of our conditioning and circumstances, we would be able to honour them in some way regardless of their crimes. This narratives about Haiti’s role shines a light on some of the conditioning we have inherited. Please share with the descendants of Enslavers.
It is a honour to remember the Haitians Ancestors
This project has been educational and healing for all of us, we have learned a lot. There were in total 3 memorials on the 8th August 2020.
1. We constructed a memorial the Museum of London, where a statue of the slave trader Robert Milligan was situated.
2. A virtual tribute to Haiti was submitted by Kizzi (click here)
3. A memorial was constructed on the plantation of the biggest enslaved rebellion in Barbados. The Bussa rebellion started here. Toussaint Louverture, Bussa and Queen Nzinga and all freedom fighters were honoured.
We invite you to construct a tribute to the Haitian ancestors at any time, click here for some guidelines. It is an enriching process to be immersed in a creative loving activity which challenges unconscious traits we may have. Please tag us in with anything you produce.
Read more about the Haitian Rebellion