Statement under Agenda Item 116: "Follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade," in Plenary of the 64th Session of the UNGA

Wellington Webb
Senior Advisor to the Permanent Representative of the United States 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 2, 2009


Mr. President, the United States is proud to be a co-sponsor of the General Assembly resolution regarding a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

On June 19, 1865, over one hundred and forty years ago, Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas to carry the news of the end of the U.S. Civil War With their arrival, word finally reached the frontiers of the United States that the war had ended and the slaves in the Confederacy were free.   The ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution later that year guaranteed the end of slavery in the United States.  We continue to struggle with overcoming the legacy of slavery as we continue our efforts to eliminate racial discrimination.

Speaking at the conclusion of his trip to Ghana this summer, President Obama reflected on seeing his daughters walk through the doors at Cape Coast Castle, a place where men, women, and children were sold into slavery, saying “It was a remarkable reminder that while the future is unknowable, the winds always blow in the direction of human progress.”

Mr. President, the United States remains committed to this progress; to educating our youth about the slave trade; and to honoring both the victims and the efforts of those who sought to end this despicable practice.


PRN: 2009/259