Known as Juneteenth, the anniversary recalls June 19, 1865. A Union general informed thousands of slaves in Texas that they had been freed two years earlier by an order from then-President Abraham Lincoln.
With marches and music, the United States this Saturday commemorates the "Juneteenth," which commemorates the end of slavery and has just acquired the status of a national holiday.
The marches have been held for decades in some cities in the US, such as Washington and Atlanta. Still, this year they will have a special flavor due to the declaration as a holiday of "Juneteenth," a play on words with June and the pronunciation of 19 in English.
Last Thursday, US President Joe Biden signed a law passed this week by Congress that makes "Juneteenth" a holiday, representing a nationwide recognition of the pain that the black community has dragged by slavery.
The brand new holiday to mark the anniversary of the end of slavery comes a year after the death of African-American George Floyd, whose May 2020 murder by a white policeman in Minneapolis sparked a movement in the United States and against racism and police brutality.
This mobilization contributed, among other things, to raise the profile of the "Juneteenth," which many Americans, including blacks, did not know existed until two years ago.
The date commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general informed thousands of slaves in Texas that they had been freed two years earlier by an order from then-President Abraham Lincoln.
Until then, slaves did not know they were free because the Texas slaveholders had refused to acknowledge the Confederacy's defeat in the Civil War and wanted to continue exploiting African Americans.
This week, several cities will pay tribute to the black crowd with concerts, marches, art exhibitions, and barbecues. This is the first national event to be held without sanitary restrictions. Most of the measures to fight have been lifted in recent weeks against the coronavirus pandemic.
The US capital, known as the "city of chocolate" for its predominantly African-American population, plans to hold a march starting at 2:00 p.m. local time (18:00 GMT).
The steadfast march will begin in the Black Life Square, a pedestrian section of the street leading to the White House, and will be named in 2020 after protests over the death of African-American George. The Black Life case was put on hold. Floyd, a white policeman, suffocated.
At the unveiling of the statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn, Cheryl Green, 68, said it took a long time to get there.
"It's good that people know what happened (...) we should never forget, and it should never happen again," said the African-American, who lives in the New York neighborhood. Changes are being made slowly but surely.
For its part, New York will be filled with cultural events with a gospel music show by director-composer and actor Troy Anthony at the art center "The Shed" in Manhattan, among others.
There will also be waffles and chicken at a festival in the borough of Queens, where local African-American legislator Alicia Hyndman has also organized yoga and dance classes and a beauty bazaar.
Meanwhile, there will be more marches in C Chicago, whose financial district will be the "March for us" protest scene. Atlanta, famous for being the place where the civil rights Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968).
In Atlanta, the claims include the start of a march from the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached.