Earlier, a memorial service was held for the 132 Africans at the St John’s Parish Church, High Street, Black River. Following the service, officials and members of the public paid homage to the victims by tossing flowers into the sea at the waterfront (JAG Myers Park) in Black River, to honour the victims who died by drowning.
The event, which was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, in collaboration with the National Council on Reparation, was held within the framework of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, who represented the minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, at the memorial service, said that citizens have a duty to memorialise the victims who died, since “they were destined to become citizens of St Elizabeth, even as they left the continent of Africa.”
“Today, we cast our lot with those 10 men who resisted the actions of the crew as hands tied and feet bound with iron bars, they were forcibly thrown into the sea,” he added.
The State Minister thanked Mayor of Black River, Councillor Derrick Sangster, and staff members of the Municipal Corporation for their commitment and support in ensuring that “the memorialisation is given the level of solemnity and seriousness it deserves.”
Mr. Green said the theme: ‘Recognition, Justice and Development’ for the International Decade for People of African Descent, allows Jamaicans to review elements of their past.
“It causes us to recognise that if it were not for the suffering of our ancestors, including the egregious abuses of the Middle Passage and chattel slavery and such horrors as the Zong Massacre, our freedoms which we sometimes take so lightly, would not be assured,” he said.
The Zong Massacre was the throwing overboard of 132 African slaves to lighten the slave ship, The Zong, which left the western coast of Africa for Black River with about 440 enslaved Africans.
When the Zong docked on December 22, 1781, there were less than 200 Africans on board. Later, the captain of the ship filed an insurance claim for loss of property since the enslaved Africans were seen as property and cargo.
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