When Haiti unveiled Le Negré Marron statue in 1967, it became a symbol for freedom of black people across the world. The sculpture is a reminder of the rebellion against the French that set the Haitians free.
The bust depicts a bronze man kneeling on one knee, torso arched, while holding a conch shell at his lips with his left hand, head tilted upward, while the other hand holds a machete at the ground.
American cities and college campuses have removed dozens of Confederate monuments in the last two months, but more than 700 remain. Around the world, there are more than 100 monuments that highlight the resistance against slavery. Here’s a list of the most powerful ones.
In the Caribbean, most of the slavery monuments and memorials depict men and women who resisted slavery, whether through maroon societies or actual rebellions.
The Emancipation Statue symbolizes the “breaking of the chains” in Barbados. Although slavery was abolished in 1834, most men didn’t receive full freedom until 1838. The statue, sculpted by Barbadian sculptor Karl Broodhagen, was unveiled in 1985. Barbadians widely refer to the statue as Bussa, after the leader of the April 1816 slave revolt.
Tula was an enslaved African who liberated himself and led the Curaçao Slave Revolt of 1795—the largest slave rebellion on the island. The monument, designed by Nel Simon, was erected in 1998 in Willemstad, Curaçao, the same place of Tula’s execution.
The 77,000-square-foot memorial in Pointe-à-Pitre is the largest museum dedicated to the memory and history of the slave trade. The center opened in May 2015 on the site of a former sugar cane factory.
Haiti was the first country in the Caribbean to overthrow colonial rule and effectively end slavery. So this bronze statue of a runaway slave celebrates the abolishment of slavery. It was designed by Haitian sculptor and architect Albert Mangonès and unveiled in 1967 in Port-au-Prince.
The Redemption Song monument by Jamaican artist Laura Facey was unveiled in 2003 in Kingston’s Emancipation Park, and shows a nude black couple looking at the sky to represent their triumphant emergence out of the horrors of slavery. The artist was inspired by the words of national hero Marcus Garvey, “None but ourselves can free our minds,” which were also interpreted by Bob Marley in “Redemption Song.”
Completed in 1998 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the French West Indies, the memorial consists of 20 statues, each 8 feet tall. Martinican sculptor Laurent Valére memorialized a ship tragedy in which 40 Africans died in the rocky waters off the coast of Le Diamant.
In Africa, the most ambitious memorial can be found in Ouidah, Benin, the coastal city where hundreds of thousands of Africans left the continent. But the smaller memorials in Gambia and Senegal continue to draw thousands of visitors each year.
Hundreds of thousands of captured Africans left the continent for the Americas on the coast of Benin. The Ouidah port was once the second-largest port in the triangular slave trade. Ouidah’s slavery memorial features two images of chained men on the arched gateway.
The monument is in Jufureh Village, which was made famous by Alex Haley’s depiction in Roots.
The House of Slaves on Senegal’s Goree Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features the Door of No Return—an open door leading to the Atlantic Ocean. Since the 1960s, the site has been a part of an obligatory pilgrimage for Afro-descendants looking to connect with their African heritage. Outside the house stands a freedom statue.
The Slave Memorial in Zanzibar, Tanzania, recalls how slaves were once held in underground chambers until sold in the nearby slave market. Swedish sculptor Clara Sornas produced the work in 1998.
In 2007, several European countries unveiled several national monuments to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the end of the Atlantic slave trade. Liverpool, England, even opened an International Slavery Museum.
This replica of shackles and chains sits at Place du Général Catroux in Paris and is dedicated to Thomas Alexandre Dumas, an Afro-Caribbean army general who was the son of a Haitian slave.
As France’s most important port city, Nantes played a crucial role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Forty percent of the country’s slave trade was carried out through the city. The museum opened in 2012 and is located in a wharf where slave ships moored before departing to Africa.
The National Slavery Monument in Amsterdam was sculpted by Erwin de Vries and commemorates the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands in 1863 and was unveiled in 2002. Every year on July 1, the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and Its Legacy commemorates the abolition of Dutch slavery in the Oosterpark with the Keti Koti festival.
During the slave trade, Lancaster had the fourth-largest port in Great Britain. The memorial, sculpted by Kevin Dalton-Johnson, is built into the shape of a ship and was unveiled in 2005.
The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool opened up in 2007 to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the United Kingdom. The museum covers black and African culture in addition to the history of slavery.
This statue, unveiled in 2008, sits in the center of Harlem in New York City, a mecca for black culture in the United States. Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the American Civil War. The 13-foot-high bronze-and-Chinese-granite portrait sculpture was created by sculptor Alison Saar.
Designed by American architect Rodney Leon, who is of Haitian descent, the memorial, located at the United Nations in New York City, aims to underscore the tragic legacy of the slave trade, which, for over four centuries, abused and robbed 15 million Africans of their human rights and dignity, and to inspire the world in the battle against modern forms of slavery, such as forced labor and human trafficking.
From about the 1690s until 1794, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6-acre burial ground in lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. The grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a federal office building.
The statue, unveiled in 2002 in Savannah, Ga., represents a modern black family that has risen from the shackles of slavery. The base of the monument bears an inscription by poet Maya Angelou:
We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others’ excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.
When it opened in 2014, the Whitney Plantation in Edgard, La., became the only plantation in the United States with a focus on slavery. Through museum exhibits, memorial artwork and restored buildings and hundreds of first-person slave narratives, visitors to Whitney will gain a unique perspective on the lives of Louisiana’s enslaved people.
The Gateway to Freedom International Memorial to the Underground Railroad commemorates Detroit’s role in the Underground Railroad. It was sculpted by Edward Dwight after he won a competition to design the memorial, and dedicated on Oct. 20, 2001.
The Tower of Freedom memorial in Windsor, Ontario, honors the flight of enslaved African Americans to freedom in Canada. Unveiled in 2001, the memorial depicts the refugees’ arrival into Canada and their overwhelming emotion upon encountering freedom.
Gaspar Yanga was an African leader of a maroon colony near Veracruz, Mexico, and he is known for successfully resisting a Spanish attack on the colony in 1609. He reached a peace agreement with the Spanish, who allowed his colony and city to flourish in modern-day Yanga.
Like the Caribbean, most of South America’s memorials honor people who led maroon societies or slave revolts. In Brazil, memorials honor Zumbi dos Palmares, a mythical leader of a maroon community in the 17th century.
Cuffy was an enslaved African who led a revolt in 1763 against the Dutch colony regime. The anniversary of the Cuffy rebellion is celebrated every Feb. 23 as a holiday in Guyana. A monument to him stands in the Square of the Revolution in Georgetown.
This monument in Rio de Janeiro honors Zumbi dos Palmares, a leader of a maroon society that existed in Brazil in the 17th century. His community of escaped enslaved Afro-Brazilians constantly fought with Portuguese officials and survived for almost 100 years. Since its unveiling in 1986, several Brazilian cities have followed suit and erected statues of Zumbi.
Rio de Janeiro construction workers were renovating the city’s port area in 2011 when they accidentally unveiled the old Valongo Wharf. Between 1811 and 1831, more than 1 million enslaved Africans arrived on slave ships at the wharf, making it the most active port during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Last July, UNESCO named the wharf a World Heritage Center. Rio de Janeiro is considering plans to build a museum as a memorial to the site. The Instituto Dos Pretos Novos, located in the same neighborhood, is a museum dedicated to enslaved Africans who died shortly after they arrived in Brazil.