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Contact: Sarah Revell
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Knott House Museum Brings Community Together to Celebrate the Anniversary of the Announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Tallahassee


On Sunday, May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Florida Department of State will commemorate the 153rd anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in Florida at the annual Emancipation Day Celebration hosted by the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee. The Emancipation Proclamation was announced in Florida’s Capital City on May 20, 1865.

“The Emancipation Day Celebration brings our community together every year to remember and honor this significant day in history,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “This family-friendly event is free and open to the public, and we encourage all of Tallahassee to join us. I also want to extend a special thank you to all our community partners for their support of this important event.”

At the commemoration, community leader Reverend James C. Vaughn Jr. will address attendees. Tallahassee resident Brian Bibeau will portray General McCook and present a dramatic recitation of the Emancipation Proclamation from the front steps of the historic Knott House Museum. 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 will join him.

The Emancipation Day Celebration is part of a month-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 will take 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 can also enjoy free admission from 2:00–4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the following sites: 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, Tallahassee Museum, and Taylor House Museum of Historic Frenchtown. For more information about the events associated with Emancipation Day, please visit

The Emancipation Day Celebration is sponsored by the City of Tallahassee, the Council on Culture and Arts, Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc., Sonny’s BBQ, Hopping, Green and Sams, P. A., Leon County Tourist Development Council, and Tallahassee Downtown. The Emancipation Day Celebration is sponsored in part by the State of Florida through 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.