Skip to content
Talk to a person: 850-606-2665
Events & Exhibits > History and Heritage Months > Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day

Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee-Leon County on May 20, 1865, eleven days after the end of the American Civil War and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed those enslaved in Southern states. The Proclamation was read by Union General Edward M. McCook from the steps of the Knott House, effectively ending slavery in the state of Florida.

One hundred and fifty-five years later, in 2020, Leon County became the first county in Florida to officially recognize Florida’s Emancipation Day as a County holiday through a unanimous vote of the Leon County Board of County Commissioners.

Over the years and across the state, our past links us to our present and future. We invite you to learn something new about Florida’s history and the events that shaped our community through our library resources and during local events hosted by our community partners.


  • No more events.

Learn about Emancipation Day and African American History through Library Resources

Learn about the struggle, achievements, and contributions of African American people throughout history.

African American History in Florida

Civil Rights in Florida

Reconstruction in Florida

Race Relations in the U.S.

Take a deep dive into stories that give a different perspective. These books can take you on a journey that you never expected!

African American Biographies for Young Adults

Emancipation History for a Younger Audience

Take a look at these graphic novels for an interesting history lesson or to entertain you with their intriguing illustrations.

African American History in the U.S.

The Battle for Civil Rights

Slavery in History and Today

Read anytime using our apps: Libby, Overdrive, or Axis 360. Want to download a book to your computer? You can do that too. Just follow the instructions during check out.

African American History in Florida

Biographies and African American History for Young Readers

Emancipation History in the U.S.

Watch documentaries, history films, and motion pictures through Kanopy.

Summer Programs

Enjoy summer programs for all ages!

Back To Top