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Contact: Sarah Revell
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Knott House Museum Brings Community Together to Celebrate the 152nd Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in Florida


Today, Secretary of State Ken Detzner commemorated the 152nd anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in Florida, which was announced in the state’s capital city on May 20, 1865, with a celebration at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee.

At the commemoration, John Anderson, who has portrayed Frederick Douglass across the South for many years, addressed the gathering. 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.

“The Emancipation Day Celebration brings our community together every year to remember and honor this important day in history,” said Secretary Detzner. “I want to extend a special thank you to all our community partners who have been pivotal to the success of this event. Through their support, we are able to not only preserve this important day in Florida history, but also bring it to life.”

The Emancipation Day Celebration was part of a week-long 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 since 1866. Since 2001, the Knott House Museum and the John G. Riley Museum have collaborated to present this public celebration in downtown Tallahassee.

Annual Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Emancipation Day

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 1870s and recognizes Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The free public service was sponsored by the Council on Culture and Arts.

Tallahassee residents and visitors also enjoyed free admission 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, the Museum of Florida History, Taylor House Museum of Historic Frenchtown, and The Grove Museum. For more information about the events associated with Emancipation Day, please visit

The Emancipation Day Celebration was sponsored by the City of Tallahassee, the Council on Culture and Arts, Florida Department of State, Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc., Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille, Hopping, Green and Sams, P. A., Leon County Tourist Development Council and Tallahassee Downtown. The Emancipation Day Celebration is sponsored in part by a grant from the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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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 Knott House Museum is administered by the Museum of Florida History, Florida Department of State. The historic house is open for tours Wednesday through Friday 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00 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.