Introduction – 1500

Articles Making Freedom

“Slavery is no more than a state of war between a conqueror with absolute power and the conquered…” (John Locke: 1632-1704)

Windrush Foundation welcomes you to MAKING FREEDOM, the website that celebrates the 1838 Emancipation of nearly a million Africans in the Caribbean.

It was on the First of August 1838 that nearly a million Africans in British colonies won their liberty, having been enslaved for all or most of their lives. Emancipation Day saw the re-birth of the African family unit which had been severely undermined by enslavers during the previous two hundred years. The initiative was led by African women who went out searching for and reclaiming their children from plantation owners. Enslavers had denied the enslaved the right to live with members of their own families.

The text and images on the website summarise the major events that led to Emancipation, and raise awareness about those who contributed to ending enforced servitude. The road to freedom was arduous and bloody; tens of thousands of Africans were killed in their efforts to liberate themselves. Emancipation was the beginning of a long and laborious journey towards the realisation of the right to self-determination. This website also features a selection of post-emancipation stories celebrating acts of courage and resilience which have laid the foundation for the freedom many of us enjoy today.

Windrush Foundation is campaigning for the First of August to be acknowledged nationally as Emancipation Day, and to be commemorated annually.