2007 Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire
The Deputy Prime Minister chairs an Advisory Group, created to maximise
contributions to the Bicentenary which on 25 March 2007 marked
200 years to the day that a Parliamentary Act was passed to
abolish the slave trade in the former British Empire.
Plans to mark the 200th anniversary of Parliament’s abolition of the slave
trade in the former British Empire were launched by the Deputy Prime
Minister, David Lammy (Culture Minister) and Paul Goggins (Race Equality
Minister) on 19th January 2006.
Influential stakeholders were brought together by Ministers to create an
Advisory Group, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Deputy Prime Minister, David Lammy and Paul Goggins stressed that it
was not a national organising committee, but a sounding-board for wider
discussions on expectations and opportunities.
The Advisory Group on the Bicentenary will galvanise action across the
cultural, faith and community sectors to ensure that 2007 makes an impact
across the country and that the bicentenary is relevant to local
communities. The Group, which includes a broad range of faith, community,
city and cultural representatives, is expected to meet regularly in the run
up to 2007.
Speaking almost 200 years after William Wilberforce - one of his
predecessors as MP for Hull - led the campaign to change the law and
abolish slavery in the British Empire, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
"William Wilberforce's achievement and the suffering of so many
must be remembered in 2007. This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect
on the struggles of the past, the progress we have made and also the
challenges that remain.
"Today is just the beginning of what will be a fitting commemoration
in cities and towns across the country on this momentous occasion."
Culture Minister, David Lammy said:
”I am particularly pleased to see that the cultural sector is providing
such a strong lead in this area. In Liverpool, Hull, Bristol and London,
plans are already well advanced to make 2007 a success. The Heritage
Lottery Fund has already committed over £16 million towards exciting and
innovative projects to make the bicentenary relevant to people today.
"I want to make sure that in 2007 we pay tribute to all those who had
a stake in the abolition the victims of the slave trade, the ordinary
people who campaigned for change, and the abolitionists themselves. I
particularly want to ensure that we recognise those black abolitionists
such as Olaudah Equiano who deserve such a prominent place in history and I
am glad that a major exhibition of his life and times is being planned in
Birmingham in 2007.”
Meg Munn, Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Race, Cohesion
and Faith for the Department of Communities and Local Government, David
Lammy, Minister for Culture, and Vernon Coaker, Under Secretary of State
for the Home Office, support the DPM on the Advisory Group
Notes to Editors
25 March 2007 marked 200 years to the day that a Parliamentary Bill
was passed to abolish the slave trade in the former British Empire. 1807
marks the beginning of the long road to the eventual abolition of slavery
itself within the former British Empire via the Act of 1833. Even then
slaves did not gain their final freedom until 1838. Although slavery was
finally abolished in the Americas in 1888, it is estimated that over 20
million people are still in forms of servitude today.
A pamphlet – Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future – The 2007
Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire was
published on 27 March 2006 with one year to go to the bicentenary of this
landmark Act, to reflect on the struggles of the past, the progress we have
made and also the challenges that remain.
For further information, please contact:
DPM press office: +44(0)20 7944 6703
DCLG press office: +44(0)20 7944 4627
DCMS press office: +44(0)20 7211 6272.