Photo Exhibits

Photo exhibits spotlight various topics in Florida history, and are accompanied by brief text intended to place selected materials in historical context.

Emancipation in Florida

The American Civil War officially ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his forces to General Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the United States Army. Many telegraph lines were damaged during the war, and news of the surrender was slow in reaching some parts of the Confederate states. Union General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee on May 10 to accept the surrender of Confederate forces in Florida. On May 20, he read the Emancipation Proclamation and declared all enslaved persons in Florida free.

Since then, communities all over Florida celebrate May 20 as “Emancipation Day,” with parades, speeches and other activities. These photographs document some of those celebrations.

Annual Emancipation Day Parade - Saint Augustine, Florida.

Musicians walking in the St. Augustine Emancipation Day parade, ca. 1922. Photo by Richard Twine.

Identifier: LV025

St. Augustine Historical Society is the custodian of the glass plate negatives.
Raymond Kelton is playing the clarinet.

The Queen and her court - Saint Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine Emancipation Day: Queen Ivie Daniels and her court: Ruth Williams, Inez Soloman Feacher, Hazel Martin Jones and Flora Chambers, ca. 1922. Photo by Richard Twine.

Identifier: LV064

Photoprint of half a stereoview - The Southern Series.

St. Paul A.M.E Church float - Saint Augustine, Florida.

The St. Paul A.M.E Church float in the St. Augustine Emancipation Day parade, ca. 1922. Photo by Richard Twine.

Identifier: LV046

Photoprint of half a stereoview - The Southern Series.

St. Benedict Catholic School parade float - Saint Augustine, Florida.

The St. Benedict Catholic School float in the St. Augustine Emancipation Day parade, ca. 1922. Photo by Richard Twine.

Identifier: LV063

Those identified: James Welters (Knight of St. Johns), Irene Welters, Alinea Edwards, Lucille Burns Glass, Kathleen Meacham, Julia May? Young, Alonzo Meacham, Henry Butler.
St. Augustine Historical Society is the custodian of the glass plate negatives.

St. Benedict Catholic School parade float - Saint Augustine, Florida.

People sitting on a car decorated for the St. Augustine Emancipation Day parade, ca. 1922. Photo by Richard Twine.

Identifier: LV096

Those identified: James Welters (Knight of St. Johns), Irene Welters, Alinea Edwards, Lucille Burns Glass, Kathleen Meacham, Julia May? Young, Alonzo Meacham, Henry Butler.
St. Augustine Historical Society is the custodian of the glass plate negatives.

African American workers and tenants celebrating Emancipation Day (May 20th) at Horseshoe Plantation

People watching a performance during Emancipation Day celebrations at Horseshoe Plantation in Leon County, ca. 1930.

Identifier: RC11491

Horseshoe Plantation (Leon County, Fla.)

African American workers and tenants celebrating Emancipation Day (May 20th) at Horseshoe Plantation

A child climbing a pole during Emancipation Day celebrations at Horseshoe Plantation in Leon County, ca. 1930.

Identifier: RC11490

Horseshoe Plantation (Leon County, Fla.)

African American workers and tenants celebrating Emancipation Day (May 20th) at Horseshoe Plantation

Henry White playing guitar during an Emancipation Day celebration in Florida, ca. 1930.

Identifier: N047021

Horseshoe Plantation (Leon County, Fla.)

Reenactors recreate a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee.

Reenactors at the Emancipation Day celebration at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee, 2015. Photo by Sara Brockmann.

Identifier: DG01823

In this particular celebration, Brian Bibeau reenacts the role of General McCook by reading the Emancipation Proclamation. The Leon Rifles Historical Reenactors and the United States Colored Troops Living History Association also participated during the event.

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