Saturday, August 15, 2009




Why was August 23rd chosen as the date of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition? Because it commemorates the uprising of enslaved Africans in Bois Caiman, in the north of the then French colony of Santo Domingo, on the nights of August 22-23, 1791. This uprising played a critical role in the abolition of slavery.

Key West, Florida 1860 African Memorial Site Progress

As a part of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its abolition, and the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed here in Key West, FL in 1860 that intercepted over 1400 captured Africans in the Atlantic Ocean near Cuba and brought them to safety in Key West, Ms. Norma Jean Sawyer, Member of the Volunteer Committee for the 1860 African Memorial Site Project, Prof. Gene Tinnie, Lead Concept Artist for the Project, and Johnson Odibi, Nigerian born artist and contributor to the concept design for the project will gather members of the Diaspora Arts Coalition of Miami, FL, drummers from the local community, and residents of Monroe County to give a stirring educational presentation of the significance of this historic site to International history and the plans to introduce the site and its story to UNESCO for consideration as a potential World Heritage Site.

From the Diaspora Arts Coalition of Miami, FL, storyteller Madafo will give us a broad overview of Africans that were forced into slavery and its effect on Africans in the Diaspora. Madafo is also an acclaimed writer, public radio show host, as well as a featured Storyteller at festivals throughout the USA, Africa, and Europe.

Lead Artist Gene Tinnie, will share the story of how the Adinkra symbols on each of the columns at the site were chosen, while others from the community are invited to read the meaning of each of the symbol.

Artist Johnson Odibi will described aspects of other art work at the site and its significance to the story of the Africans that are buried at the site, while Ms. Sawyer will speak to the involvement of the citizens of Key West in 1860 and today that came together to protect and care for the Africans in life and now, in preserving the story of their untimely demise during the horrendous Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

We humbly invite the public to come be a part of this International Day of Remembrance as we reach out to the children in our community. Please bring your children, grandchildren, history class, and Sunday school classes to learn of this important history, to appreciate the part that the people of Key West played in this International event, and to learn how they can continue its preservation for future generations. The program will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. at the site on Higgs Beach.

For more Information contact Norma Jean Sawyer at 305-294-0884 or email inquiring to

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Thank you for sharing this event! I'm sad to have not been able to come. I wanted to share this film on a slave prison in Ghana. It helps remind us all that the agonies of slavery started way before the slave ships reached the New World: