Every year, August 23 marks the International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The idea behind the day – designated by UNESCO – was to remind people across the world about the tragic history and consequences of slavery.

Significance of August 23

The day commemorated the people in Santo Domingo – present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic – for their revolt in 1791 against slavery and its trade. The revolt that began on the night of August 22, went through August 23 and played an important role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

The day was first celebrated in Haiti in August 1998 and the following year Senegal marked the international day. Subsequently, countries across the world – especially in Europe and Africa – began celebrating the remembrance day.

Life-size sculptures of enslaved Africans are part of a 70-foot replica of a slave ship featured in the core exhibit at Detroit's new Museum of African American History. The slave ship with 50 figures is a silent commemoration of Africans who lost their l
Life-size sculptures of enslaved Africans are part of a 70-foot replica of a slave ship featured in the core exhibit at Detroit's new Museum of African American History. The slave ship with 50 figures is a silent commemoration of Africans who lost their lives during the Middle Passage to the Americas. Reuters

"This 23 August, we honor the memory of the men and women who, in Saint-Domingue in 1791, revolted and paved the way for the end of slavery and dehumanization. We honor their memory and that of all the other victims of slavery, for whom they stand," UNESCO's Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.

"To draw lessons from this history, we must lay this system bare, deconstruct the rhetorical and pseudoscientific mechanisms used to justify it; we must refuse to accept any concession or apologia which itself constitutes a compromising of principles."

Quotes to commemorate the International Day:

Following are some quotes – gathered from BrainyQuotes and GoodReads – to honor the importance of August 23.

"Elimination of illiteracy is as serious an issue to our history as the abolition of slavery." – Maya Angelou

"There is not a man beneath the canopy of Heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him." – Frederick Douglass

"To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing." – Toni Morrison

"Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves." – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

"Slavery is a sin when whites were put to the yoke, but not the African. All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man." – Colson Whitehead