LEON COUNTY, Fla. — Leon County Government has become the first county in Florida to officially recognize Florida’s Emancipation Day as a county holiday.
The unanimous vote took place on Wednesday by the Leon County Board of Commissioners.
“Emancipation Day is a significant day in Florida history and deserves recognition and celebration,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge. “I am proud of the Board for declaring May 20 a holiday, acknowledging the importance of Emancipation Day to the African American community in Leon County and Tallahassee.”
On May 20, 1865, emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee-Leon County 11 days after the end of the Civil War and two years after the Proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln freed those enslaved in Southern states.
On that day, the Proclamation was read by Union General Ed McCook from the steps of the Knott House, effectively ending slavery in the state of Florida.
“Recognizing Emancipation Day as a County holiday further demonstrates the County’s commitment to racial equity and diversity throughout our organization and in the community,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “Like we have done for years, the County looks forward to working with community partners and historians in commemorating the importance of May 20.”
Leon County will continue its commitment to celebrating and elevating Emancipation Day events with local cultural agencies to drive interest for residents and visitors alike.
Starting in 2021, County offices will be closed on May 20 in observance of the holiday.