Jacksonville holds 4th annual celebration of Florida’s Emancipation Proclamation Day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville city leaders and state officials commemorated Florida’s 159th Emancipation Proclamation Day at City Hall on Monday.

Organizers told Action News Jax they incorporated songs and dances of freedom for this year’s event.


“Hereby, proclaim May 20th, 2024, as Emancipation Day in Jacksonville,” Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said.

Deegan, along with other city and state leaders, was present to honor this day’s significance in the fight for freedom.

The Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee, Florida, 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.

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Jacksonville City Council Member Ju’Coby Pittman said the goal is to educate everyone about the historic importance of May 20 in Florida.

“I felt the spirit of our ancestors. The people who did not know about the Emancipation like some city workers and state leaders were exposed to that today,” Pittman said.

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Pittman said while many people celebrate Juneteenth on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery, Florida recognizes and celebrates May 20 as its Emancipation Day.

This is Jacksonville’s 4th annual celebration of the state’s Emancipation Proclamation Day.

“This celebration is not just looking back on our history but also recognizing the resilience of our community,” City Council President Ron Salem said.

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