In June 2015, Barack Obama stated that “The legacy of slavery […] casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. […] It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. […] societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
Too often, we reduce black slaves to the status of mere victims
Too often, we reduce black slaves to the status of mere victims and, conversely, consider the responsibility of Western societies only in terms of guilt and moral fault. Beyond this binary frame, a third way of analyzing this issue is possible: it consists in describing slavery as a process, a universal shockwave whose tremors we still feel some 200 years after the official abolition of the trade.
In order to comprehend this massive phenomenon – in its duration, its extent, its lasting consequences – it seemed necessary for us to adopt a systemic approach. In other words, to understand the question of slavery from its territories and the commercial channels that were drawn by the different trades. To question the geography of slavery is to measure its internal dynamics, with its areas of exchange and breaking points.
Slavery is not a marginal historical phenomenon but a central issue in the history of the world
Slavery Routes is a collective work. The meeting of three visions, three personal stories where Africa, the Caribbean and Europe converge.
This multiplicity of perspectives enabled us to comprehend slavery as a whole, by going beyond stereotypes and preconceptions about the culture of the other.
With these four films, we wanted to fight against the collective oblivion that feeds ignorance, prejudice, resentment and hatred.
Revealing the truth on this common heritage, and recalling that slavery is not a marginal historical phenomenon but a central issue in the history of the world, is a means by which we can protect ourselves from the crimes of the past. And progress in the struggle against all types of inequalities and discriminations.
Daniel Cattier, Juan Gélas, Fanny Glissant