So Future Generations Never Forget the Horrors of Slavery

Posted by Emily Spencer
March 30, 2010
Slavery Memorial Statue

About the Author: Emily Spencer is the Education Program Officer with the Office of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Last week, the world marked the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Students and teachers from four continents engaged via the UN Cyberschoolbus to discuss the theme: "Expressing our Freedom through Culture." United Nations Headquarters in New York organized the event which gathered approximately 500 students in the audience and linked via video conference to students in Cuba, Ghana, The Gambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom.

Students from schools participating in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) each prepared presentations including songs, dances, poems and readings to address this year's "Expressing Our Freedom Through Culture." ASPnet is a network of over 8,500 educational institutions around the globe committed to promoting the mission of UNESCO. These schools work on programs related to human rights, sustainable development, intercultural dialogue, and other flagship programs. The ASPnet has a flagship program called, "Breaking the Silence: the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project."

These students shared an energetic, thoughtful and creative discussion moderated by Dr. Sheila Walker, a cultural anthropologist and Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, Inc. Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary General for Communication, welcomed all of the students, while Dr. Walker opened the discussion and stressed the importance of looking at the history of Africa to understand the history of America.

At the UN Headquarters, it was really quite amazing to see schools from different countries, linked together for a couple hours to share presentations by and for students to ask questions of one another and seek different perspectives on the transatlantic slave trade. Two large video screens provided the New York-based participants with a close view of the other school students. Students were provided with a study guide for the event so they came prepared and teachers held discussions with their classes in the context of their regular school schedule. In addition to the schools participating via teleconference, other schools were able to follow the event on a live webcast and submit questions in real time.

There are over 35 schools in the U.S. that participate in the UNESCO ASPNet. This year, over 75 students and teachers traveled to UN Headquarters to participate in this event. If your school might be interested in becoming part of this network, please visit us at the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO webpage.

Comments

Comments

Lydia K.
|
Texas, USA
March 30, 2010

Lydia K.W. in Texas writes:

Inspiring piece. I concur that all United States citizens, as well as non-Americans who perpetuated the slave trade should be required to study slavery and its affects on current society. Yet, I also fervently believe that victims of slavery and their descendants must ultimately forgive, but NEVER forget, in order to put the past behind them and strive for opportunities in the present. It bears repeating that forgiveness is for ur own benefit, not the wrongdoer, and that having the courage to do so, in no way condones or minimizes their culpability for their bad acts.

OSHA t.
|
Texas, USA
March 30, 2010

OSHA writes:

No doubt slavery should be condemned at all cost!!!

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
March 30, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Slavery isn't dead yet, but the funeral might well be in sight. Let's inter the body soon.

And would economists and human resource departments please stop referring to me as "human capital?" The only kind of capital that's human is a slave, and slavery is pretty much illegal everywhere. Last I checked, anyway.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 1, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dilbert would be proud of you Flavius, that was nicely put.

Looking forward to that "pink slip" I see...(chuckle)

Economic slavery is an absence of economic mobility and opportunity.

Human potential will not be denied, and knows no chains that will succesfully bind it in perpetuity.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
April 1, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Thank you, Eric.

I wonder if this all means that I only count as 2/3rds of a person for representational purposes?

A lot of people read Orwell in school, but it is obvious very few were paying attention.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 1, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Flavius,

RE; "I wonder if this all means that I only count as 2/3rds of a person for representational purposes?"

Only if you've forgotten what a pound of your flesh is worth sir.

Today in Iran and other places a woman is worth half that of a man in court.

Orwell pales in comparison.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
April 1, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

No matter which direction some people go, they always end up in the same place.

Enjoy the view.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
April 1, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

The author wishes to correct one of his posts. I shortchanged the slave holding states of the early republic when I said that "I" would only count as two-thirds of a person. The actual fraction, as clearly enumerated in our glorious constitution (before amendment) is as follows:

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

I apologize for the error.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 2, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

That depends on if societies grow up or not and grow out of smallmindedness, Flavius.

Some would say we've come a long way to attain the view we share today.

What was the "norm" for thousands of years no longer is.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
April 2, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

When I was discussing "direction." it wasn't societies that I had in mind.

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."

.

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