The Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission is proud to join the Caribbean community in celebrating Emancipation 2023 under the theme “Celebrating 189, continuing the mission” from July 26th to August 1st, 2023.
This year marks a significant milestone as we commemorate 189 years since Antigua and Barbuda was granted emancipation from the horrors of enslavement. The activities planned for this year’s celebration aim to highlight the creative arts, culture, and heritage as we continue our mission toward reparations.
Our celebrations will commence on July 26th with the broadcast of “Uhuru Spiritually Awaken” – a production by ABRSC that celebrates emancipation 189. This production will showcase spoken word artists, African fashion, song, dance, and more. Continuing the festivities, we invite all nationals and residents to participate in the annual African Dress Day on Friday, July 28th. This day serves as a call for individuals to proudly don African dashikis and cultural attire, honoring our African heritage and paying tribute to the Ancestors who fought for our nation’s freedom.
The 15th annual Watchnight Gathering will take place on Monday, July 31st at the Botanical Gardens from 8pm. Watchnight is a cherished tradition that symbolizes the enslaved Africans’ anticipation for news of their freedom. It is an evening of music, libation, drumming, messages, songs, iron band performances, and more—a celebration of freedom, faith, community, and resilience. This year our feature address will be delivered by Pan Africanist, Dr. Radcliffe Robins.
According to Deputy Chair of the ABRSC, Ambassador Anthony Liverpool, “As we commemorate the 189 years since our emancipation from chattel slavery in 1834, it is essential to acknowledge the significant progress made by the people of the Caribbean. Our efforts have contributed to the development of a Caribbean society that has produced world champions and achievers in athletics, cricket, literature, economics, and health.”
The Emancipation celebrations will continue with the annual Emancipation Day Church Service at the Green Bay Moravian Church on Tuesday, August 1st, at 6 am. Following the church service, a day of celebration awaits in the heart of St. John’s, featuring delectable food, arts and crafts, music, entertainment, and more.
Stay tuned for further updates and details about the various activities in the days to come.