Florida Celebrates 150 Years Of Emancipation Following Lincoln's Famous Proclamation

May 21, 2015

Tallahassee citizens are recognizing the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation which took place 150 years ago in Tallahassee. The Knott House Museum commemorated its news and impact.

A crowd, larger than last year's, came out for the ceremony and celebration of The Emancipation Proclamation reading in Florida at the Knott House Museum.
Credit Caitie Switalski / WFSU

Ladies in 1860s dresses fanned themselves in the heat of midday surrounding the Knott House Museum.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner joined the 2nd Infantry Regiment United States Colored Troops Living History Association to celebrate the Sesquicentennial anniversary of President Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation reaching Tallahassee. Detzner focused on the modern significance of that day so long ago.

“Today’s 150th anniversary is also an opportunity to honor those during the Civil War to present – our current veterans,” Detzner said.

On the front steps, key note speaker and member of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, Clifton Lewis spoke about the context surrounding Lincoln’s actions.

“New Year’s Day January 1st 1863, shortly after noon, word came that Lincoln had signed the emancipation proclamation and there was great joy and jubilation,” Lewis said.

It was 150 years ago that Union Brigadier General Edward McCook established Union headquarters in Tallahassee, in addition to reading and enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation. Emancipation Day is just one in a week long string of events put on to celebrate Emancipation in the Tallahassee area.