In “Lidia Celebrates America: Freedom and Independence” premiering June 28 at 10 p.m. on PBS, renowned personality Lidia Bastianich sets out, traveling across the country to celebrate freedom and diversity in America by exploring the experiences of several different ethnicities and cultures.

This one-hour program highlights our country’s rich cultural heritage as seen through the lens of Americans celebrating independence and freedom. The subject resonates deeply with Lidia, who also reveals a moving personal account of her own immigrant experience to viewers. She’s joined in her travels by her celebrity friend from the worlds of film, television, music, the arts, and food, including actress Anna Deavere Smith, opera singer Renee Fleming, singer Martha Wainwright, chef Jacques Pepin, and actor Alec Mapa.

In the segment with Anna Deavere Smith (best known for her roles on Nurse Jackie and The West Wing), Lidia and Anna explore the deeply moving and meaningful historical events surrounding the celebration of Juneteenth in an extremely poignant story about the freedom from slavery in the US. Every June 19th on the Gulf Coast, the town of Galveston, Texas celebrates the Emancipation in a unique and profound way, a Gospel-led procession along Main Street from the old court house to the colored church. Lidia meets with Dr Barbeque who demonstrates a traditional dry rub brisket and Sam Collins, who recently purchased Stringfellow Orchards plantation to convert it into a historical museum. Sam shares how Gen. Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in the town of Galveston two years after it was written on June 19, 1865, marking the official end of slavery in the town.


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