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Soul of Southside Festival honors Emancipation Day

Posted at 11:02 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 23:02:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — While many people recognize Juneteenth as the day slaves first heard of their freedom, word reached slaves in Florida much earlier.

"Emancipation came in Florida on May 20th 1865," says Soul of Southside Festival History and Culture Committee co-chair Rachel Basan Porter. "General Edmond McCook. He announced the Emancipation Proclamation from the Knott House, which is over on Park Avenue."

Porter helped oragnize 11 events for the Soul of Southside Festival. Thursday's Afternoon of Rememberance focuses on the African American experience specific to Tallahassee and Leon County.

"There is an incredibly rich, diverse culture in Florida in Leon county and in Tallahassee and, right here in these neighborhoods that we are in right now, in Southside, so much to preserve and remember and think about going forward," Porter says.

The festival will also feature 30 diverse vendors, more than a quarter of which base their businesses in Tallahssee's Southside.
Vendor coordinator Brandi Knight says they honor this history of emancipation by exercising their "Freedom! Freedom to have a business. Freedom to be able to have an income, to be able to feed your family and provide for yourself without having to ask permission."

Organizers hope you'll support, enjoy, and most importantly keep Tallahassee's history in mind.

"While we remember the importance of May 20th," says Porter, "think about the importance of that in your life today, and take away just a little bit more respect for the culture."

For a complete list of events, click here.