DIANE NASH HEADLINES SLAVERY REMEMBRANCE DAY FESTIVAL
21 – 23 August 2009
US Civil Rights activist Diane Nash launches a weekend of entertaining and thought-provoking events with a free memorial lecture on Friday 21 August 2009 at 1800 hrs, Liverpool Town Hall.
Her lecture, Reflections on the American Civil Rights Movement, focuses on her life and the legacy of the civil rights struggle in light of Barack Obama’s historic election victory.
It is part of Liverpool’s 2009 Slavery Remembrance Day Festival, an annual international event that commemorates the lives of millions of enslaved Africans and their descendants and celebrates the spirit of resistance that ended slavery.
Diane Nash is a key figure in the birth and development of America’s Civil Rights Movement, and her efforts to fight against injustice and inequality have been internationally recognised.
During the 1960s she dedicated herself to many political groups fighting against the degradation and racial prejudice she experienced in Nashville, USA where she was a student.
As a tireless activist Nash was arrested dozens of times for her political activities. In 1962, when she was four months pregnant, she was sentenced to two years in prison for teaching non-violent protest tactics to children, but was released on appeal.
President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the national committee that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and she also worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with Martin Luther King Jr. from 1961 to 1965, serving as an organiser, strategist and member of the field-staff. In 1963 the SCLC initiated the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his infamous I Have a Dream speech.
Following the lecture, a weekend of free Slavery Remembrance activities take place at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool from 1100 hrs on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 August.
Thought-provoking and entertaining activities celebrating Black culture and heritage include performances, live music, craft activities, talks and workshops, and are suitable for all the family. Market stalls will also be trading traditional West African and Caribbean food and crafts.
The weekend culminates on Sunday 23 August, a date marked globally as Slavery Remembrance Day, with a libation on the River Mersey – a traditional African ceremony, led by Chief Angus Chukuemeka, that remembers enslaved Africans and calls on ancestors to bless the event.
The 23 August is a significant date as it commemorates an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791, an act of rebellion which marked the beginning of a journey that led to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. The date has been designated by UNESCO as Slavery Remembrance Day, a reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation.