City of Jacksonville to host first inaugural Emancipation Celebration

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The City of Jacksonville will be holding it’s first Emancipation Celebration next month to help educate the community about Black Floridians history from slavery.

Organizers say the event will be hosted by Rahman Johnson and will feature performances by The Katz Downstairz, Mama Blue, K.UTIE and Nan Nkama Afro-Caribbean Dance and Drums.

There will also be poetry readings with performances by Love Reigns and Mal Jones, followed by a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Honorable Rhonda Peoples-Waters.

“Emancipation was proclaimed in Florida on May 20, 1865 and the City of Jacksonville recognizes the significance that has made for our community,” Mayor Lenny Curry said in a statement. “We’re excited and humbled to support James Weldon Johnson Park as we celebrate this day together with a fun festival for the community.”

Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee on May 20, 1865 - eleven days after the end of the Civil War, and two years after the Proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln to free those enslaved in Southern states.

The celebration will take place at the James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville and will feature local African American food trucks and vendors, live performances from local musicians, dancers and poets, family activities, a Community Art Project and a historical display.

The festival is scheduled to last all day, starting at 11 a.m. and closing out at 8 p.m. It will be free to the public.

“As a community, we are recognizing the past wrongs and injustices with a celebration of unity with a profound purpose. As we continue to celebrate as a community, we still have work to do together,” Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman said in a press release.

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is a General Assignment Reporter for 104.5 WOKV.

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