the end of slavery commemorated in Olivewood Texas Cemetery

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In the United States, the end of slavery became a holiday last year. Juneteenth corresponds to the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Galveston – a port city near Houston, Texas – on June 19, 1865, two years after the northern United States. Several ceremonies are taking place this Sunday and Monday in places of remembrance of the end of slavery. Report in the Olivewood cemetery in Houston where the first free African-Americans of the region and their descendants are buried.

With our correspondent in Houston, Thomas Harms

Despite the heat wave, we are busy restoring the graves and mowing the grass. ” We are going to collect the waste and debris that are on the tombstones. Like Taylor Lindson, there are ten of them trying to maintain the heritage and prevent the 4,000 burials in the cemetery from falling into oblivion.

Gabby Paink, she tries to find the story of each person buried in Olivewood: ” Juneteenth is a really big party, especially for black Texans, because we were the last to know we were free. Many people buried here continued to work without realizing they were free. So it’s important for cemeteries like this to be restored for Juneteenth to celebrate a day they couldn’t. »

“Thanks to the people buried here, I can take the bus without discrimination”

Margott Williams created the Olivewood Descendants Association. Paying tribute to the people buried in this cemetery has been his fight for more than 20 years: “ There is still a lot of work. We must be a third of the way through to restoring the tombs. Thanks to the people buried here, I can take the bus without discrimination, thanks to them I can enter somewhere through the main door and not through a back door. »

Olivewood Cemetery has just been listed as one of the most endangered sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States and is part of the Slavery Routes Memorial Sites, a project of the Unesco.

► To read also: Slavery in the United States: Harvard University does its introspection

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