Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, July 01, 2022

Gainesville honors end of slavery in Florida

The city begins the “Journey to Juneteenth” with two events on Florida’s Emancipation Day

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe (left), Vivian Filer, executive director of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center (middle), and Gainesville city Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader Teneeshia Marshall (right) hold the Juneteenth flag on Thursday, May 20, 2021.
Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe (left), Vivian Filer, executive director of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center (middle), and Gainesville city Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader Teneeshia Marshall (right) hold the Juneteenth flag on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Gainesville will celebrate Florida’s Emancipation Day, honoring the end of slavery in the state, by reading proclamations, flying flags, admiring artists and frying fish.

Friday kicks off the city’s second annual “Journey to Juneteenth,” a monthlong celebration honoring the end of slavery. The celebration begins on the anniversary of the day Union General Edward McCook read the proclamation ending slavery in Florida at the Knott House in Tallahassee at the end of the Civil War on May 20, 1865. It concludes by commemorating when the last enslaved Black people in the U.S. heard the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. 

Gainesville is celebrating the day with two events at City Plaza and the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center. 

Nathaniel Courtney, Jr., a 39-year-old Black history activist, said it’s important to understand and celebrate both Juneteenth and Florida’s Emancipation Day, which speaks to Florida's true history and culture. His organization is one of seven City of Gainesville partners participating in “Journey to Juneteenth.” 

“When we come together to recognize this moment in history, to reflect on where African-American people have come as a community, where the United States has come as a community,” Courtney said, “Then we begin to really do the work that is necessary for us to live up to the true ideals of this country: equality, liberty, justice and freedom.” 

The Emancipation Day celebrations will start at 9 a.m. with a reading of the Juneteenth proclamation and the raising of the Juneteenth Flag at the City Hall Complex at 200 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601. 

The Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center will hold a fish fry dinner at 5 p.m. and a program featuring local artists, singers and poets at 6:30 p.m., Courtney said. 

Samiyah Thomas, a 19-year-old UF business administration senior, said May 20 reminds her of how the Black community had to work to overcome a history of slavery, segregation and ongoing discrimination.

She said she would like to see the university formally recognize the day through events and small gatherings. It's important for people to know the history behind the state they live in, she said.

Contact Jackson Reyes at jacksonreyes@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox
Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Jackson Reyes

Jackson Reyes is a third-year sports journalism major and a general assignment reporter for the Metro desk. This is his first semester at the Alligator. When he's not reporting, he enjoys thrifting, collecting records and playing basketball.  


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.