Black History Abroad: The Anse Cafard Slave Memorial in Martinique

Many of the Caribbean islands hold memorials and art installations that signify their respective moments in the African slave trade, however few provide the sobering gravity of the Anse Canard Slave Memorial on the shores of Le Diamant in Martinique.

The memorial was completed in 1998, the 150th anniversary of slave emancipation in the French West Indes.

The importation of new slaves to the Caribbean had been made illegal in 1815, however many chose to continue slave trading years after the fact.  On an April night in 1835, a ship with a cargo of forty slaves crashed into the rocks on the Southeast shores of Martinique, killing half of the men and women onboard. The twenty statues, represent the slaves who were fell victim to the sinking ship, as a symbolic tribute to the slaves who were not provided a proper burial. Standing eight feet tall, the towering figures bear stoic expressions, leaving you to experience the pain and mourn the loss of that fateful night. The figures stare out to the sea, blending the lush lay of the island with the harsh histories of slavery.

The beauty in this memorial lies in the fact that there are no gates, chains, or fences; nothing prevents you from interacting with the statues.

 The statues all look towards the sea that took their lives.

The statues all look towards the sea that took their lives.

Beautiful and stirring, the memorial is an absolute must-see for any visitor to the island. Take a short ride from mainstays like Fort-de-France and Les Trois-Ilets to visit the memorial and capture some great shots of Diamond Rock.

 Diamond Rock, sits ominously off the coast of Le Diamant like the lair of a Bond film villain.

Diamond Rock, sits ominously off the coast of Le Diamant like the lair of a Bond film villain.