Florida's Emancipation Day
There's a national campaign underway to make Juneteenth (June 19th) the day commemorating the first public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, freeing the enslaved peoples who lived in the now-defeated Confederate States of America. But Florida's first public reading of the Proclamation took place almost a month earlier, on May 20th. To make the case for why the Sunshine State should adopt that date as its own Emancipation Day are: Althemese Barnes, director emeritus of the John G. Riley House and Museum; Tallahassee Mayor Pro Tem Dianne Williams-Cox; Dr. Sandra Thompson, founder and CEO of the Legacy Communities of North Florida; Sgt. Major Jarvis Rosier with the Second Infantry Regiment U.S. Colored Troops; Bob Holladay, president of the Tallahassee Historical Society; and Clifton Lewis, curator of the L.B. Brown Museum in Bartow, Florida.