Freedom. Redemption. Liberation.
August 1, 1834 marked a special day for Africans in British colonies as it was the day they received freedom from slavery. This day marks the end of slavery in the British Empire. It is recognized and celebrated in many Caribbean countries. The first country in the world to observe a public holiday in honor of Emancipation Day was Trinidad and Tobago in 1985.
In Barbados, Emancipation Day is part of an annual Season of Emancipation which began in 2005. Running from April through August, events include National Heroes Day, Crop Over festival, Africa Day, Emancipation Day, the Birthday of Sir. Marcus Garvey and International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
In Jamaica, the Emancipation Declaration was read from the steps of the Old Kings House in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the country's capital at the time. Today, Emancipation Day is the start of a week-long cultural celebration, during which Jamaicans also celebrate Jamaican Independence Day on August 6, (1962).
Emancipation Day was officially introduced as a public holiday in Jamaica in 1893. However, it was discontinued in 1962 when Jamaica gained Independence. Emancipation Day was reinstated as a Public Holiday by Prime Minister PJ Patterson in Jamaica in 1998 after a six year campaign led by the late Professor Rex Nettleford.
No matter where we reside now, we are all children of Africa. It is our honor and responsibility to continue the fight against racism, social injustice and slavery in all its forms.