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Hundreds to march for Emancipation Day

UNITY: Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, 2016

AUGUST 1 marks a special day for those of African and Caribbean decent, as on this day, slavery was abolished from British colonies and is now known as Emancipation Day.

Many countries that are former colonies, including Barbados, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and more celebrate Emancipation Day marking when slavery was abolished in 1833.

The Slavery Abolition Act came into force of August 1, 1833 on the territories of the British Empire (with exception of the territories of the East India Company). This day is celebrated in many countries around the world, and it's not a part of the carnival period, that also falls on the end of July or beginning of August.

On this day, the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March also takes place in Windrush Square, Brixton, as hundreds come together to call for amends to be made for enslavement endured by generations of African people.

To get you up to date on what you need to know about the day, we've listed some facts below:

1. All children six years and under were to be made free immediately. Thousands of enslaved Africans who were six years and older became apprentices with the intention of manumission in 1838.

2. The apprenticeship period, which was supposed to be eight years, was a part of the Emancipation Act. Under apprenticeship, apprentices were to work for their masters for 40 hours per week. In their free time, they could be allowed to work for wages.

3. The apprentices, during this time, were to continue to enjoy the 'privileges' of slavery such as housing, clothing, provision grounds, food and medical care.

4. On August 1, 1838, apprenticeship ended in Jamaica and the other islands in the Caribbean. Apprenticeship came to an early end because of the humanitarian work of persons such as Thomas Buxton, the anti-slavery party in Britain and the failure of the system itself.

5. Emancipation Day was officially introduced as a public holiday in Jamaica in 1893. These celebrations were discontinued in 1962, when Jamaica gained independence.

6. Emancipation Day was re-instituted in 1997 by then Prime Minister PJ Patterson as a national holiday to be celebrated on August 1.

Facts provided by old.jamaica-star.com

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