(CMR) On the 1st of August, many Caribbean nations commemorate Emancipation Day, an important reminder that all people deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.
Emancipation Day marks the 1834 abolition of slavery in the British Empire and the 1838 abolition of apprenticeship, a system that forced formerly enslaved people to continue to work uncompensated for their former masters.
The Slavery Abolition Act, which banned slavery in the British colonies, followed a shift in the British Empire’s economic interests and sustained resistance by enslaved people through massive slave revolts
While resistance helped pave the way for emancipation in the 1800s, the Caribbean was not free from British colonial rule for another century. For centuries, Caribbean people fought for liberation from slavery and colonization.
The first country in the world to observe a public holiday for Emancipation Day was Trinidad and Tobago when Emancipation Day replaced Discovery Day in 1985.
Meantime, several leaders across the Caribbean continue to argue for reparative justice for the crime of slavery against humanity.