About this Site

This site aims to help teachers and educators to Break the Silence that continues to surround the story of the enslavement of Africa that began over 500 years ago. It is designed to provide teachers with a variety of resources and ideas about how to teach the subject holistically, accurately and truthfully. It aims to represent the voices that are not usually heard. It hopes to highlight the involvement of Africans in their own liberation and to show that the impact of enslavement of the African continent was so far reaching that the legacies remain with us today, perhaps more powerfully than ever. The Transatlantic Slave Trade, also referred to within this site as enslavement, or the African Holocaust, was not just a part of history that can be forgotten. It forcibly changed the fabric of societies worldwide, economically, politically, socially, culturally and spiritually. Its long lasting legacies are directly relevant to people all over the world today.

How to Use this Site

Breaking the Silence – Learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade presents the user with a range of information as well as perspectives, from teacher ‘Briefings’ which have been contributed by people from the three regions represented in this site (Africa, Caribbean and Americas and Europe), pages of ‘Links’ to useful websites, easily downloadable ‘Ready to use lesson plans and activities’, a ‘Pick and Mix’ assortment of useful resources that teachers can adapt and use creatively across the curriculum, virtual ‘Slave Routes’ that map out places and people connected to the slave trade or its legacy, in different countries across the three regions and ‘Up from Slavery’, an activity for students or young people that charts a journey through from enslavement to emancipation.

The Sub Sections

The Icons
The site is organised by themes, each of the icons across the top of the screen representing one of nine different themes, beginning with Africa before the Transatlantic Slave Trade, through to Legacies in Africa, the Americas, Caribbean and Europe and Slavery Today. Clicking on one of the icons will take you to the beginning of the theme, a brief summary about the subject area, the option to download a full ‘Briefing’, or to go to the teachers’ pages on this theme for classroom materials.

On the left hand side are a number of sub headings. Clicking on any one of these will take you to pages of ‘Links’ to useful websites and on line materials that will help teachers to cover the theme in depth without missing important areas.

Teaching Slavery
Teachers can also access materials directly from the Home Page. Rolling over the heading ‘Teaching Slavery’ will provide a drop down menu of the different materials under each theme. If users know what they are looking for, they can go straight to the materials of their choice. Or go to the teachers’ page under that section and browse to find out what is available.

Up from Slavery Activity
This is an activity designed for young people and can only be accessed from the Home Page. It will take the user on a journey through slavery, from capture to freedom, through the voices of the enslaved. The journey is made up of nine stages. To pass from one stage to the next, the user must read or listen to an excerpt from a narrative written by an enslaved African, and answer a question correctly. The narratives are only a handful of the many hundreds of writings that could have been chosen. These only tell a part of the story, but most importantly, the story is real. Excerpts from other narratives can also be found under relevant sections of the teachers’ pages.

Slave Routes
This sub section can also only be accessed from the Home Page and is again about a journey, although of a different kind. Clicking on Slave Routes will take the user to a map highlighting the regions of Africa, Americas, Caribbean, and Europe. From here clicking once will take you into a larger version of the regions. The user can then go to up to nine countries within each region, to find images and information about places or people that have an important link to enslavement in that country. In Africa the countries that can be studied are: Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Mozambique and Angola. In the Americas and Caribbean are: Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Brazil and the USA. In Europe are: Portugal, France, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway and the UK.

Breaking the Silence Education Project
This site is part of a much wider attempt to improve teaching, awareness and understanding about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its legacies today. ‘Breaking the Silence’ is a UNESCO ASPnet education project, that links up to 150 schools in 23 countries. One of its main aims is to promote dialogue between young people with different cultures, values, identities and languages, and through this subject, to create a better understanding of the globalised world we live in today. A number of different international projects are taking place across the world, and this section of the site will highlight some of them. It will also provide a host of project ideas for teachers to develop in their schools or with other schools around the world. Links to two international directories will help them find a school to team up with.

But this is just the beginning of a resource that we hope will grow and improve over time. Teachers are the experts – they know what works in classrooms in Africa, in the Caribbean, Americas and Europe. We’d like to be able to share that good practise within and across the regions to help and support others to approach the subject holistically, sensitively and thoughtfully. So if you have ideas and contributions for resources, lesson plans, places of interest or links that are not yet featured, please send them in and we may be able to include them (at the editor’s discretion). This support will encourage teachers to introduce this as a regular curriculum subject in countries all over the world, helping to break the international silence on the real story of African enslavement.


Breaking the Silence, Learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade website, is a joint initiative between UNESCO, Anti-Slavery International, the British Council and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD). It has been developed in connection with UNESCO's ASPnet Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project, Breaking the Silence. Some of the texts included within these pages are based on material written by the University of the West Indies for this project.

The production and development of such a comprehensive international resource was made possible by the generous contributions of a number of experts in the field who have kindly donated texts, materials, images and educational activities to this website. We would especially like to thank the following: Dr Hakim Adi, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University; Kathryn Burgess; Marcia Burrowes, University of Warwick; Madge Dresser, Principal Lecturer, School of History University of the West of England; Richard Hart; Issifu Lampo; Raphael Murera; David Richardson, Professor of Economic History, University of Hull; Stephen Small, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Dean Smart, Teacher Trainer at the Faculty of Education of the University of the West of England and his PGCE students; Professor Elisée Soumonni, Université Nationale du Bénin; James Walvin, Professor of History, University of York;

Also thanks to all those who allowed us to expose their creativity in the name of education - Faustin Charles, CETTIE (Cultural Education through Theatre in Education) and many more to come…

Research by S.I. Martin, writer and researcher
Site designed by Pure Creative, www.pure-creative.com
Programmed at The Annexe
Site compiled, co-ordinated and maintained by Anti-Slavery International www.antislavery.org