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

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

From 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Monday, May 8, a community event in St. James at ENCORE includes music, food, live performances, and the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by local community leaders and elected officials. Speakers include University of South Florida professors Elizabeth Hurge Freeman, Cheryl Rodriguez, and Tomaro Taylor, and Tampa Bay Black History Center curator Fred Hearns.. The event is free but capacity is limited to the first 100 people to RSVP.

St. James at Encore, 1202 N. Governor Street in Tampa, is a community programming and event space that the Tampa Bay History Center and the Tampa Bay Housing Authority collaborated on to create at the historic St. James Episcopal Church in the Housing Authority’s Encore District.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, an event will be held at the Chinnsgut Hill Historic Site in Brooksville featuring Gulf Archaeological Research Institute Director Emeritus Gary Ellis and Tampa Bay History Center’s Touchton Map Library Director, Rodney Kite-Powell, to discuss the historical significance of the site. Michael Jones will talk about the local implications of recent archaeological discoveries. Pasco Hernando Community College President Jesse Besores will welcome guests on free hourly tours of the historic home, free of charge from the college, beginning at 11 a.m.

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

“Federal General Edward McCook read President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Nott House in the state Capitol,” the release continues. “This day marks the liberation of all enslaved black individuals in Florida who have not yet been freed.”

The federal holiday, Juneteenth, observed on June 19, is a separate national Emancipation Day.

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

For advance coverage of St. James on ENCORE, go to Tampa Housing Authority, Tampa Bay History Center’s partner at the historic St. James Episcopal Church.

For previous stories on Chinsegut Hill, go to Chinnsgut Hill: An exceptional view of Florida And Take a tour of Chinsegut Hill and explore Florida’s past.

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