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Contact: Meredith Beatrice
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Secretary Detzner Commemorates 150 Year Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation in Florida

Knott House Museum Celebrates Significant Anniversary at Annual Emancipation Day Event


Today, Secretary of State Ken Detzner commemorated the 150 year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in Florida at the annual Emancipation Day Celebration hosted by the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee.

This year’s event marked the 1865 announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Florida by Brigadier General Edward McCook. At the commemoration, Tallahassee resident Brian Bibeau portrayed General McCook and presented a dramatic recitation of the Emancipation Proclamation from the front steps of the historic Knott House Museum. Joining him were the Leon Rifles 2nd Florida Volunteer Infantry Regiment Co. D, Captain Chris Ellrich Commanding, and the 2nd Infantry Regiment U.S. Colored Troops Reenactment Unit & Living History Association, led by Sgt. Major (Ret.) Jarvis Rosier.

“This year’s Emancipation Day celebration is especially poignant because it marks 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in Florida,” said Secretary Detzner. “This anniversary is an opportunity for all of Florida to commemorate a significant historic event and honor those individuals who fought for freedom here in Florida and across the country.”


Annual Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Emancipation Day

The commemoration also recognized the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation nationally in January 1863. This year marks the 150 year anniversary of President Lincoln’s death, assassinated 150 years ago in April of 1865.

The May 20 commemoration is part of a weeklong celebration of Emancipation in Florida’s capital city that includes a number of events and free admission to numerous historic sights. Originally held at Bull Pond, currently known as Lake Ella, this annual commemoration has been a proud tradition in Tallahassee and has been taking place since 1866. Since 2001, the Knott House Museum and the John G. Riley Museum have collaborated to present this public celebration in downtown Tallahassee.

“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 Proclamation’s impact on civil rights in the generations that followed.”

Prior to the commemoration, the John G. Riley Museum’s Civil War Grave Decorating Commemorative Service took place at the Old City Cemetery. This program dates to the 1880s and recognizes those who fought in the Civil War. The free public service is sponsored by the Council on Culture and Arts and Visit Tallahassee.

From 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. today, 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 Center/Museum, Knott House Museum, the Museum of Florida History lobby, and the Taylor House Museum of Historic Frenchtown. For more information about the events associated with Emancipation Day visit:

The Emancipation Day Celebration is sponsored by the City of Tallahassee, the Council on Culture and Arts, the Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc., Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille, Hopping, Green and Sams, P. A., 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.