RICHMOND, Va. -- Thousands attended events in Richmond commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and emancipation April 1 -- April 4.
The festivities ended with music, dance and remembrance at the slave burial site in Shockoe Bottom Saturday night.
Trees covered in the names of enslaved Africans buried in Shockoe captured Russell Earls attention as he attended the event.
“It's dead, but alive,” Earls said.
He described the trees as a metaphor for the African-American experience.
“The fact that as African-Americans we're still here in America, and still struggling, but we've reached some of the highest levels of anything,” Earls said
Earls lives in Chesterfield and has never visited the slave burial site in Shockoe.
“I didn't know this place existed…it moves me,” Earls said.
Earls, along with hundreds of others, came together under a tent to honor the past, and look toward the future.
Elaine West brought her two sons to the event.
“It's incredible how far we've come,” Earls said.
She wanted to teach them about what she called the “reawakening of the African-American community in Richmond.”
“It's just something you really have to instill in your children, no your people were not slaves, they were Africans that were enslaved,” West said.
One learning experience among many in a city that has changed so much over the past 150 years, but still has deep roots to the past.