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Contact: Brittany Lesser

Emancipation Day Celebration May 20th

TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Ken Detzner invites the press and public to the annual Emancipation Day Celebration at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This annual event commemorates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Knott House on May 20, 1865. The celebration is a cooperative effort between the Museum of Florida History and the John G. Riley House and Museum.

“This annual celebration brings the community together to commemorate this important day in history,” said Secretary Detzner. “The proclamation was a turning point for members of the Tallahassee community and residents statewide. I hope many Floridians will come to the Knott House Museum to recognize this historic moment.”

Emancipation Day Celebration 2012

Immediately after the Civil War, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook established his headquarters at the Hagner residence, known today as the Knott House. General McCook was responsible for announcing the Proclamation. The program features remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Kerri Post, Museum of Florida History Director Dr. Jeana Brunson and a keynote address by reenactor John Anderson, portraying abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Brian Bibeau, portraying General McCook, presents a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

“The Florida commemoration at the Knott House is very powerful," said John G. Riley Museum Director Althemese Barnes. “It acknowledges the importance of the announcement in Florida’s capital city and reminds us of the Proclamations impact on civil rights in the generations that followed.”

After the program the public is invited to enjoy a free lunch across the street in Lewis Park. Other events commemorate the day throughout Tallahassee. At 10:45 a.m., the John G. Riley Museum’s Civil War Grave Decorating Commemorative Service takes place at the Old City Cemetery. This program dates to the 1880s and recognizes those who fought in the Civil War. It is free and open to the public.

From 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., free admission is offered at the following sites: Ash Gallery, Florida A&M University Black Archives at the Union Bank, Florida A&M University Meeks-Eaton Archives and Museum, Florida Historic Capitol Museum, John G. Riley Museum, Knott House Museum, Museum of Florida History, and Taylor House Museum of Historic Frenchtown. For more information about the events associated with Emancipation Day visit

The Emancipation Day Celebration is sponsored by Hopping, Green, and Sams, P.A.; the City of Tallahassee; Sonny’s Barbecue; Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc.; and Tallahassee Downtown.

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About the Knott House Museum

The Knott House Museum is located at 301 East Park Avenue, at the corner of Park Avenue and Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida. The Museum is administered by the Museum of Florida History, a section of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs. The historic house is open for tours Wednesday through Friday 1:00, 2:00, & 3 p.m. and Saturday: 10:00, 11:00 a.m., Noon, 1:00, 2:00, & 3:00 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public, but there is a small charge for group tours. Please call 850.922.2459 for more information.