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Barbados Season of Emancipation 2024

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Barbados’ Season of Emancipation begins April 13th, launching a period of remembrance of the suffering of slavery and celebrating the brave endurance & ultimate triumph of our ancestors.

The Speightstown Esplanade will host the first event at 11am with cultural presentations by the Haynesville Youth Group and author and poet La Shawna Griffith, as well as singer Roneisha Alleyne.

In the 17th century Speightstown was a major port on the island, with ships regularly welcomed from England. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell’s forces were sent to subdue the Barbados colonists who remained loyal to the King. These forces were held at bay off Speightstown for many months.

Speightstown Esplanade

We then head south to Oistins Bay Garden for a midday show with the Israel Lovell Foundation, poet and playwright Winston Farrell and songstress Aaliyah Cumberbatch.

In 1652 the Charter of Barbados was signed in Oistins between Oliver Cromwell’s forces and the Governor of Barbados. The Charter ensured the colonists of special rights and privileges related to land ownership, taxation and local governance.

Back on west coast, Holetown is the place to be at 1pm for entertainment by soulful singer Tavon Boyce, spoken-word artist Deo De Poet and the Phoenix Steel Pan Trio.

Holetown is the site of the first English settlement on the island in 1627, the beginning of a trajectory leading to the institution of plantation slavery.

Golden Square Freedom Park in our capital city Bridgetown hosts the day’s final activities starting at 3pm. There you’ll be treated to inspiring performances by writer and spoken word performer Luci Hammans, Dancin’ Africa and the Calvary Moravian Steel Orchestra.

Bridgetown was the initial Caribbean stop for slave ships arriving from Africa, where slaves were offloaded and sold. Despite this tragic historical association, the city also represents the resilience of our people, who not only endured the burdens of slavery but also flourished post-Emancipation and in independent Barbados.

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