Florida city will recognize May 20 as slave emancipation day

February 1, 2021 GMT

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A Florida city is planning to formally recognize May 20 as the date slaves were emancipated in the state.

The city commission plans to approve a resolution Monday declaring May 20 as Florida Emancipation Day, The Ledger in Lakeland reported.

That would mark the anniversary of when slavery became illegal in the state. It’s earlier than the Juneteenth date in which slaves in Texas were informed on June 19, 1865 that they were free.


In Florida, the date was May 20, 1865, when Union Brigadier Gen. Edward McCook formally announced President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House in Tallahassee.

Lakeland commissioner Philip Walker says there are efforts around Florida to have cities and counties recognize May 20 as the date of slave emancipation in the state.