NEW YORK, USA -- Visitors to the United Nations on Thursday and those to the Bronx Museum of Fine Arts on Friday had a chance to see an exhibit and a film focusing on the struggle by slaves for independence in Haiti – the first successful slave revolt in the world that "continues to inspire."
The high-level official opening of the exhibit “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond” hosted by the permanent missions of Haiti and Jamaica to the United Nations took place on Thursday in the Visitor Centre at UN Headquarters.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially opened the exhibit, saying: "The story of the Haitian Revolution and the resilience of its people, who demanded nothing more than to be granted their human rights, continue to inspire."
Irina Bokova, director general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was also be in attendance, as well as a number UN ambassadors.
With an overview of the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a backdrop, the exhibit focuses on the slaves’ struggle for independence in Haiti and the establishment of the republic in 1804. The Haitian insurrection is recognized as a milestone by the liberation movements that fought for the abolition of slavery.
The exhibition also showcases the design of the Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, The Ark of Return by Rodney Leon, which will be erected at UN Headquarters in early 2015. The American architect of Haitian descent also designed the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City. He was selected as the winning design of an international competition in August 2013.
The Memorial will stand as a constant reminder of the courage of slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes who helped to end slavery.
The exhibit highlights the UNESCO Slave Route Project, launched 20 years ago to break the silence surrounding the slave trade and its consequences.
The author of the film They are We, Emma Christopher, and architect Rodney Leon also held a discussion.
The They are We documentary tells the story of the Cuban descendants of an enslaved African woman who visited the village of origin of their ancestor in Sierra Leone. The village was located thanks to an Australian professor from the University of Sydney, Dr Emma Christopher, who was able to trace it through traditional dances and songs.
“Photographs of the documentary They are We are currently on display in the exhibit, in the context of the Film Festival on Slavery.
The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which is marked on 25 March, was established by the General Assembly (GA) in 2007.