Secretary of State Ken Detzner welcomed Floridians and visitors alike to the Emancipation Day Celebration at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee on Monday, May 20, 2013. This annual event celebrates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation read on the steps of the Knott House on May 20, 1865, two years after the proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The celebration is a joint effort between the Museum of Florida History and the John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture.
“The Emancipation Day celebration helps us come together as a community to commemorate this important day in history,” said Secretary Detzner. “This year’s event is especially significant because it is 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln. It is important to remember and celebrate this pivotal event in Florida history.”
Immediately after the Civil War, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook was staying at the Hagner house, the structure now known as the Knott House. The responsibility fell to General McCook to announce the Proclamation. The program featured remarks by Secretary Detzner and a keynote address by the director of African American Studies at Florida State University, Dr. Patrick L. Mason. A dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation was performed by Brian Bibeau portraying General McCook, who has conducted the reading for over a decade.