The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first observed in 1998 in Haiti. UNESCO designated August 23 because it marks the beginning of the 1791 slave rebellion in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) led by Toussaint L’Ouverture. Slavery was abolished in Haiti in 1783.
Enslaved Africans resisted their captors from the moment they were brought over on a ship.
Enslaved African Americans led rebellions, including Denmark Vesey, Charles Deslondes and Gabriel Prosser.
On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner led a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. Over a two-day period, Turner and his army freed every enslaved African American they encountered and killed 55 whites.
Attorney and Philadelphia Tribune columnist Michael Coard, founder of Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC), writes:
Nat and his guerrilla army — a group that had grown to approximately 70, including about 40 enslaved and 30 free (with nearly 300 suspected of providing direct or indirect assistance) — ultimately killed 55 whites but spared many others. Despite Nat’s death, he was ultimately victorious in freeing you and me.
In the spirit of Nat Turner’s resistance, ATAC will hold its annual birth of slavery commiseration event on Monday, August 20, 12:00pm, at 6th and Market streets. Fittingly as we begin the countdown to 400 years of African American history, the event will be held near The President’s House.