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.