25 Years of Liverpool’s Slavery Remembrance Day

International Slavery Museum Announces 25th Slavery Remembrance Day Commemoration with Fiona Compton as Keynote Speaker

The International Slavery Museum proudly announces the launch of its 25th Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration, a milestone event that will feature an array of significant activities and notable speakers. Highlighting this year’s observance is the distinguished photographer, artist, filmmaker, public speaker, and historian Fiona Compton, who will deliver the keynote address.


Fiona Compton will present the esteemed Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture on Thursday, August 22nd, at 5:30 PM at Liverpool Town Hall. Tickets for the event can be booked here. Known for her profound exploration of identity, heritage, and social injustice, Fiona’s work emphasizes self-empowerment and challenges existing representations. Her impactful contributions have earned her recognition and invitations to speak at both local and international forums.

Reflecting on her role, Fiona Compton stated, “As the keynote speaker for Slavery Remembrance Day in Liverpool, I stand on the shoulders of ancestors whose voices were silenced. We reclaim those voices, weaving them into the tapestry of remembrance and resilience. Let us confront the shadows of history with courage and illuminate a path forward guided by justice, empathy, and solidarity.”

Michelle Charters, Head of the International Slavery Museum, remarked, “Twenty-five years since the city’s first Slavery Remembrance Day, it remains a vital moment in our bustling city to pause and remember the countless lives affected by this abhorrent trade. It also celebrates the many legacies and achievements of people of the African diaspora. We eagerly anticipate Fiona’s unique contribution this year, as we commemorate our 25th anniversary and look forward to the future of the International Slavery Museum. Our recent public consultations have reinvigorated our vision, and as we gather once more to mark Slavery Remembrance Day, we extend our gratitude to everyone accompanying us on this journey.”

Liverpool has observed Slavery Remembrance Day on August 23rd since 1999. This date commemorates the 1791 uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti), a pivotal moment designated by UNESCO. It serves as a reminder that enslaved Africans were the principal agents of their own liberation. Liverpool, historically a major hub of the transatlantic slave trade, accounted for half of Britain’s involvement in this trade. Slavery Remembrance Day acknowledges this significant period of trauma and injustice in world history, which has often been overlooked or unacknowledged.

Each year, Slavery Remembrance Day invites a distinguished speaker to deliver the prestigious Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture. Past speakers have included Mr. Martin Luther King III, award-winning film director Amma Asante, renowned activist and scholar Dr. Maulana Karenga, civil rights campaigner Diane Nash, Zimbabwe’s first Black cricketer Henry Olonga, poet Lemn Sissay, author and musician Akala, and historian David Olusoga.

The theme of this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day is Reflection. The full program of events can be found on the museum’s website. In addition to the memorial lecture, the following events will be part of the broader Slavery Remembrance Day program:

Health, Medicine, and Transatlantic Slavery: Curatorial Workshop

Date: Tuesday, August 20th
Time: 2-4 PM
Location: Maritime Museum

This workshop invites public participation in shaping future displays at the International Slavery Museum. It focuses on artifacts related to the history of medicine and transatlantic slavery, and explores contemporary health inequalities experienced by Black communities as legacies of transatlantic slavery.

CSIS Symposium: Space and Place – Building on the Past Panel

Date: Wednesday, August 21st
Location: The University of Liverpool

Curators, scholars, and community-based knowledge makers will reflect on buildings and spaces associated with the representation of slavery and its legacies. Discussions will be led by Dr. Richard Benjamin, Senior Lecturer for Contemporary Museum Practice, Professor Ola Uduku, Head of School at the Liverpool School of Architecture, and Mike Boyle, Liverpool historian and author of “Liverpool Black Heritage: From Granby to Pitt Street.”

Walk of Remembrance

Date: Thursday, August 23rd
Time: 12-2 PM

This year’s Walk of Remembrance will be extended to include Williamson Square, Clayton Square, Bluecoat, and Liverpool One, providing more opportunities to reflect at key landmarks. The walk will feature influential voices, live musical performances in partnership with Africa Oyé, and will culminate with a libation ceremony near the Canning Quayside and Dry Docks at 2:30 PM.

For more information about Liverpool Slavery Remembrance Day 2024, including the full program of events, please visit the website.