by Larry Smith
"May the time come...when the sable people shall gratefully commemorate the auspicious era of extensive freedom." -- Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano was born in what is now Nigeria and kidnapped into slavery at the age of 11. He was shipped to Barbados and then to Virginia, where he was able to buy his freedom in 1766.
In later life, he played an active role in the British movement to abolish the slave trade. And his autobiography was an international bestseller, presenting an eyewitness account of slavery from a true insider's perspective.
Winston Saunders was a Bahamian teacher and writer, as well as a lawyer and judge. His untimely death in Jamaica on Saturday at the age of 65 is a profound loss to the cultural community in the Bahamas.
At the time, Mr Saunders was meeting with Jamaican officials to discuss the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in his role as co-chairman of the Bahamas Cultural Development Commission.
The actual 200th anniversary of the British law that ended the slave trade occurs on March 25, 2007. It marks a tremendous achievement that represented the beginning of the end of human slavery - a condition that has existed in various forms since ancient times.
Next year's commemoration will feature special events throughout Britain and in other countries that were involved in the transatlantic slave trade.