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Soul of Southside Festival Uplifts Community

Tallahassee’s Southside got the spotlight this past week with a festival showcasing what the area has to offer. It left residents calling for more events like these in the future.

Over the weekend at Anita Favors Plaza, residents of the Southside of Tallahassee gathered to celebrate Emancipation Day—the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was read in Leon County. The event began Thursday with a drive-by fish fry for seniors and ended Saturday night with live music from Tallahassee Nights Live.

City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox says the event was what the Southside needed.

"This is magic. This is what our people need to have our spirits lifted. We will come together and have a great time and enjoy one another," said Williams-Cox. "We’re just glad to be vaccinated, and be out and so this is really good this kicks off our summer."

Former State House Representative Alan Williams also joined the celebration.

"To be able to feature all of our businesses on the Southside, our community members, organizations that’s what it’s all about," said Williams. "So, I’m just glad to be out here and see so many friends that I haven’t seen in a year."

And while he’s not a lifelong resident, Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson also joined the party.

"When you connect it with what we started, with celebrating black culture in Florida. You know being free," said Robinson. "And then seeing these folks the descendants of those people still here celebrating freedom, enjoying themselves and then the type of culture that they established. It’s been an honor for me to be here."

The festival was so well received, Allen Palmer a resident who lives in the area says they want to have one more often.

"Keep putting on events like this if it ain’t nothing but once every month or once every two months and let the people know about Southside and about what Southside has to offer," Palmer said.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.