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Contact: Mallory Morgan
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PRESS RELEASE: Secretary of State Cord Byrd Invites the Public to Celebrate 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida


Secretary of State Cord Byrd invites the public to celebrate 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida at Knott House Museum on Friday, May 20, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This annual event recognizes the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation on May 20,1865 in Tallahassee, Florida, two years after the proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The commemoration is a joint effort between Knott House Museum and John G. Riley Center & Museum.

“The 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida joins our community together every year to remember and honor this significant day in history,” said Secretary Byrd. “The importance of the day cannot be forgotten, and we share this commemoration in the spirit of celebration, community, history, and freedom.”

Immediately after the US Civil War, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook was staying at the Hagner house, the structure now known as Knott House Museum. The responsibility fell to General McCook to announce the Proclamation. Both presenting museums welcome all to join the celebration of this historic event. The program will include musical performances, remarks by Secretary Byrd and Dr. Aron Myers, Executive Director of the John G. Riley Center & Museum, a keynote address by historian Dr. Larry Rivers, a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a free lunch in Lewis Park.

Additionally, the John G. Riley Center & Museum and the City of Tallahassee will host a Civil War Grave Decorating Commemorative Service at 10:00 a.m. This program dates from the 1880s and is held at the Old City Cemetery, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Park Avenue and Call Street.

The 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida 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 sites. For additional information on 20th of May—Emancipation in Florida and a full list of community events and activities associated with the commemoration, visit

20th of May—Emancipation in Florida sponsors include the City of Tallahassee; Friends of the Museums of Florida History, Inc.; Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A.; Sonny’s BBQ; and Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency. It is also sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, Division of Arts and Culture, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.



About Knott House Museum

Knott House Museum is located at 301 East Park Avenue, at the corner of Park Avenue and Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida. The historic site is currently closed for construction but may be toured online at Knott House Museum is part of the Florida Department of State’s Museum of Florida History in the Division of Historical Resources.