Locals Gather for 150th Anniversary of End of Civil War & Emancipation of Slaves

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – Richmond is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the fall of the capital of the Confederacy, and the emancipation of slaves.

Friday night, on the African Burial Ground by Shockoe Bottom, people gathered to honor the slaves who died before the end of the Civil War.

“These are people that were buried here that were worked to death,” said Maat Free from the group Untold RVA. “There were people that died before they got to hear the great news that slavery had ended. So that’s what we’re doing right now, posthumously emancipating those who died before the end of slavery.”

It’s part of the city’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the war and the end of slavery.

“There were more people that were sold in Richmond than any other place in the country, so it’s resonant that the end of slavery would happen here,” said Free.

The three-day anniversary event began on Thursday, and includes tours of historic areas, exhibits and presentations.

“I really wanted my kids to come out and see this part of the city because we don’t get out here very much,” said resident Coleen Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says it’s a non-traditional way to honor the city’s history.

“By celebrating it, it’s a way for us to really think about what it means, and how far we’ve come and where we can go.”

That’s what Friday’s ceremony on the sacred ground was about–remembering fallen ancestors, while looking toward the future.

“Building on what they gave us and making sure to let everyone know that we have a responsibility in the world to be excellent in the world,” said Free.

Check out Saturday’s events here.

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