Members of Devon's African community are calling for a monument to commemorate all those killed or sold as part of the slave trade.
John Hawkins sailed from the Barbican to kidnap about 400 Africans
It is the 10th anniversary of African Remembrance Day and Plymouth plays a major role in highlighting the event.
In 1562 John Hawkins sailed from the Plymouth's Barbican to Guinea and kidnapped about 400 Africans.
Now Africans want the city to acknowledge the massive human suffering and put up a lasting monument.
Together with his cousin Francis Drake, Hawkins made other voyages to Guinea and Sierra Leone enslaving around 3000 Africans and killing thousands more.
There are a number of public monuments to Hawkins in Plymouth including a plaque which describes him as England's first slave trader.
Hawkins' personal profit from selling slaves was said to be so huge that Queen Elizabeth I granted him a special coat of arms, with a bound slave as the crest.
The public event to mark the day with music, song and dance is being held in Sir John Hawkins Square on Sunday from 1300 BST and then on the Barbican from 1400 BST until 1700 BST.