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March 23, 2007
For immediate release
Minister Recognizes the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery
Community and Cultural Affairs
In 1807, the British Parliament abolished the slave trade. This commemoration of the 200-year anniversary acknowledges that the trade in human lives and the forced transportation of millions of Africans as slaves is one of the worst violations of human rights in history.
“I urge Prince Edward Island residents to join me in this commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire,” Minister MacFadyen said. “At the same time, it is important that Islanders are aware that slavery did exist on Prince Edward Island and that it wasn’t officially abolished here until 1825.”
“This anniversary is an opportunity for us to honour the memory of those who suffered the injustice of slavery and to realize that the legacy of slavery continues to affect people of African descent in our province and throughout the world today,” the Minister Responsible for Culture and Heritage added.
Minister MacFadyen said he hopes recognizing this historical event will also serve as an opportunity for Islanders to learn about the contributions that Canadians of African descent have made to the structure of our province and our nation.
“The unique African-Canadian heritage has undoubtably made a significant – although often unrecognized – contribution to Prince Edward Island’s rich mosaic.”
On November 28, 2006, a resolution to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Act to Abolish the African Slave Trade in the British Empire, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN resolution declared 2007 the year to mark the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of the slave trade* and designated March 25, 2007 as International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade .
The slave trade* in Britain involved trafficking humans between Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Slavery was formally abolished in Britain when the Imperial Act was proclaimed on April 1, 1834.
Prince Edward Island officially outlawed slavery in 1825, although the practice most likely ceased earlier due to social and religious pressures. (Source: Black Islanders, by Jim Hornby)