The African Holocaust the British government would like us to forget.

Last week the Big Lottery refused Windrush Foundation a grant of £98,000 annually to run a project that would have organised major events and activities on August 23 and throughout the year. The British Government in a Press Release issued on 13 December 2007 announced that August 23 each year would be a national day in the UK for commemorating transatlantic slavery and its abolition.

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The Press Release goes on to say, “With the 23 August set to be a national day of commemoration in years to come, I hope that cultural sector across the country will continue to mark the day and inspire and move people just as they did this past year with a range of commemorative events – from displays, lectures, to religious services and plays… In the coming years groups looking to mark the 23 August will be able to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for support. They will also be able to apply to the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

It should be noted that the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust receives about £500,000 annually from the British Government to provide information on the Holocaust and hold commemorative events/activities on 27 January, and throughout the year.

To date, none of the lottery bodies have funded African, Caribbean or any organisations for August 23 commemorative events or activites. Windrush Foundation was refused funding on two occasions in the last two years. The Big Lottery’s reasons are that the “application is not recommended for funding as the project is not targeting those most in need… Consultation is older than 12 months and was not directly with beneficiaries. Those most in need are not effectively targeted by the project.”

The Big Lottery also said it would only fund such projects if hard evidence was shown for August 23.

Arthur Torrington has therefore launched a campaign and is asking for your support for August 23 projects by ANSWERING THE TWO QUESTIONS BELOW and emailing them to:

Do you think there is a need for a community project, which provides information and holds events on August 23 – and throughout the year – featuring stories and activities about transatlantic slavery and its abolition?



Will you support a community project, which provides information and holds events on August 23 – and throughout the year – featuring stories and activities about transatlantic slavery and its abolition?






2 thought on “Big Lottery refuses to fund a memorial day for slavery”
  1. I would welcome a memorial for the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade if it included a denunciation of the people who first enslaved the black Africans who were transported. I am, of course, referring to the black African kings, queens, and chiefs, who captured the victims, chained them, and frog-marched them to the coast where they were sold to European dealers for shipment to the Americas.

    No European army was needed to capture the victims, since Africans had already done the dirty business of enslavement.To mitigate the actions of these African leaders, the monument should note that slavery had been endemic in the continent since time immemorial. It should also note that African leaders were also involved in the Islamic slave trade, in which around 20 million Africans were taken by Muslim slavers for sale in the slave markets of the Middle East, over a period of 1,000 years from about the year 800 a.d. This huge trade in African slaves had been operating for about 700 years before the trans-Atlantic trade began.

    The memorial should also note that in the US, freed African slaves sometimes acquired small plantations and themselves became slave owners. The African slave trade was little different from the world-wide slave trade of the time, that involved Europeans being enslaved by Muslim slavers and also sold in their millions in the markets of the Middle East, as were Russians and Eastern Europeans, and peoples from Central Asia.

    An honest memorial for the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade should identify all those involved. Anything other than honesty would surely be an insult to the suffering of the slaves. Perhaps an honest tribute would find more receptive ears in the Big Lottery, since it is the suffering of the victims that would be honoured rather than the political aspirations of their descendants.

    I am white and detest all those who would profit from the enslavement of others, regardless of the colour, politics, or religious affiliations of the slavers, and that is why I would support an honest memorial to the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. But I would never support a dishonest memorial that would, for reasons of racist politics, seek to blame only those wrongdoers whose skin tones are not black. Put your hand on your heart and ask yourself – would you really support an honest memorial?

  2. These are welcome points but I do think that your point plays down the role that Europeans played in slavery. I find it quite disturbing and unfair that while no historian is allowed to question anything regarding the Jewish Holocaust because it is an illegal act, the African Holocaust is open to any type of rebuttal, even offensive rebuttals which suggests that Africans themselves were to blame for their own enslavement.

    All nations throughout history has dishonoured their own. Jews sold each other out to the gas chambers, British spies sold military secrets to the Germans, treachery is human nature, but threachery is not an excuse to blame the entire slave trade on African rulers. Just as I would not say that Jewish people were responsible for their own Holocaust.

    There is a culture of denial among British people regarding slavery and the effects which are still with us today. The entire resources of the African continent predominately belongs to Europeans. This is the legacy of slavery. Africa itself was colonised by military force, this is hardly the cooperative relationship in which your views try and sustain.

    You speak about an honest memorial, then I suggest you you do not try and excuse the crimes of Europeans. History speaks for itself.

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