Tampa Bay History Center marks Florida Emancipation Day with two events in May

The Tampa Bay History Center has two Florida Emancipation Day events in May.

From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6th, a community event at St James at ENCORE features music, food, live performances, a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by local community leaders and elected officials. Speakers include University of South Florida professors Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Cheryl Rodriguez and Tomaro Taylor and Tampa Bay History Center Curator of Black History Fred Hearns. The event is free but capacity is limited to the first 100 people to RSVP. 

St. James at ENCORE, 1202 N. Governor St. in Tampa, is a community programming and event space the Tampa Bay History Center and the Tampa Housing Authority collaborated to establish at historic St. James Episcopal Church in the Housing Authority’s Encore district. 

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18th, an event at the Chinsegut Hill historic site in Brooksville includes Gulf Archaeology Research Institute Director Emeritus Gary Ellis and Tampa Bay History Center Touchton Map Library Director Rodney Kite-Powell discussing the site's historical significance. Michael Jones will speak about the local implications of recent archaeological findings. Pasco-Hernando State College President Jesse Pisors will welcome guests to free hourly tours of the historic house, courtesy of the college, starting at 11 a.m.  

May 20th is observed as Florida Emancipation Day to mark May 20th, 1865, when the state officially emancipated its enslaved population in Tallahassee, a Tampa Bay History Center press release explains. 

“Union Gen. Edward McCook read President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House at the state Capitol,” the release continues. “This day marked the liberation of all enslaved Black individuals in Florida who had not yet been freed.” 

The federal holiday, Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, commemorates a separate national day of emancipation.

For more information, go to Tampa Bay History Center Emancipation Days.

For prior coverage of St. James at ENCORE, go to Tampa Housing Authority, Tampa Bay History Center partner at historic St. James Episcopal Church.

For prior stories on Chinsegut Hill, go to Chinesgut Hill: an extraordinary view of Florida and Tour Chinsegut Hill and step into Florida’s past.
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