With the 40th anniversary of Cape Verde's independence from Portugal coming up this July 5th, the New Bedford Whaling Museum held a presentation to commemorate the day on Tuesday.

The presentation featured Julius Britto, an American-born Cape Verdean. Britto spoke about visiting the island country in 1975 to be a part of the liberation.

He says Cape Verdeans today can be proud of the hard-fought independence.

"The colonies had struggled with arms and they finally were liberated, and that day is a day that they can now work for their own means, and not a colonial power," Britto tells WBSM News.

While in there, Britto also saw the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey before it was gifted to the United States by Cape Verde. At the time, the ship was in poor condition and needed to be continuously pumped for water just to keep it afloat.

Before the Ernestina-Morrissey (then just Ernestina) was sent to America, the country's government likely spent almost $2 million to restore the ship according to Britto, which the newly liberated Cape Verde clearly couldn't afford.

Britto says the ship's continued upkeep is important for American and Cape Verdean history.

"It can just do so much for all the communities. It's an educational vessel. It's a cultural vessel. It's just so important not to lose that," Britto said.

Cape Verdean Recognition Week will continue on Sunday with New Bedford's 43rd annual parade, starting at Buttonwood Park at 12 pm.

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