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Emancipation Proclamation Day in Florida

By: Liza Park
By: Liza Park

Tallahassee was the only southern state capital east of the Mississippi not captured by union forces during the civil war, but a house on Park Avenue, now known as the Knott House did fall to union hands after the war.

"Being built in 1843, after the Civil War, the Union Soldiers took it over as their headquarters," explains the Knott House Site Manager Bea Cotellis.

More importantly, union brigadier General Edward McCook stayed here on May 20 1865 and made an announcement that had been ordered by President Lincoln.

The Knott House holds a special significance in Florida's history because this is where the Brigadier General McCook announced the Emancipation Proclamation to the state of Florida.

"I can imagine seeing my parents and grandparents and ancestors standing here because I'm a native Tallahassean standing here along with the plantation owners listening to the reading," says Emancipation Proclamation Day Co-Organizer Althemese Barnes.

Today, Emancipation Proclamation Day is celebrated in Florida on May 20.

And of course, the re-enactment always takes place where the actual announcement happened 141 years ago on the steps of the Knott house.


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