Emancipation Celebration Day at JWJ Park

Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, James Weldon Johnson Park, and the City of Jacksonville are excited to announce the third annual  Jacksonville Emancipation Celebration. The festival will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in an effort to educate the community about the historical significance of Florida’s observed Emancipation Day.  Cities like Jacksonville in the State of Florida are acknowledging this special day of freedom.

“Emancipation was proclaimed in Florida on May 20, 1865, and the City of Jacksonville recognizes the significance that has made for our community,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “We’re excited and humbled to support James Weldon Johnson Park as we celebrate this day together with a fun festival for the community.”

Headlining this year’s festival will be Dat’s Pressure Band, a Soul & R&B Vibe from Jacksonville. Award Winning Author, Actor, Professor, and Media Personality Rahman Johnson will host.  Other great local performers include Nan Nkama Pan-African & Drum Ensemble. Jacksonville Arts and Music School, Taryn “Love Reigns” Warwood, and Mal Jones. In addition, Jacksonville’s Emancipation Celebration will feature local African American food trucks and vendors and fun activities for the kids.  A panel discussion of local historical figures will lend their voices to weave educational stories into the event. The festival will begin at 4 p.m. and close out at 9 p.m. at James Weldon Johnson Park.

“As a community, we are recognizing the past wrongs and injustices with a celebration of unity with a profound purpose.  As we continue to celebrate as a community, we still have work to do together,” said Councilwoman Pittman.

Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee, Fla. on May 20, 1865, 11 days after the end of the Civil War, and two years after the Proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln to free those enslaved in Southern states. On May 10, Union General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to receive the surrender of Florida’s Confederate troops. On May 20, McCook formally announced President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, effectively ending slavery in the state. While many people celebrate Juneteenth, Florida celebrates May 20 as its Emancipation Day.


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