Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, James Weldon Johnson Park and the City of Jacksonville are excited to announce the first annual Jacksonville Emancipation Celebration. The festival will take place on Thursday, May 20, 2021 in an effort to educate the community about the historical significance of Florida’s observed Emancipation Day.
“Emancipation was proclaimed in Florida on May 20, 1865 and the City of Jacksonville recognizes the significance that has made for our community,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “We’re excited and humbled to support James Weldon Johnson Park as we celebrate this day together with a fun festival for the community.”
Jacksonville’s Emancipation Celebration will feature local African American food trucks and vendors, live performances from Jacksonville’s best musicians, dancers and poets, fun activities for the kids, a Community Art Project and a historical display.
Local historical organizations will also lend their expertise to weave educational stories throughout the performances and activities. The festival will begin at 11 a.m. and close out at 8 p.m. at James Weldon Johnson Park.
“As a community, we are recognizing the past wrongs and injustices with a celebration of unity with a profound purpose. As we continue to celebrate as a community, we still have work to do together,” said Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman.
Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee, Fla. on May 20, 1865, 11 days after the end of the Civil War, and two years after the Proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln to free those enslaved in Southern states. On May 10, Union General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to receive the surrender of Florida’s Confederate troops. On May 20, McCook formally announced President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, effectively ending slavery in the state. While many people celebrate Juneteenth, Florida celebrates May 20 as its Emancipation Day.