Emancipation Day celebration at Cotton Club Museum in Gainesville
The event is the kickoff for the Journey to Juneteenth, a month-long celebration leading up to the holiday on June 19
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Jazz was in the air at the Emancipation Day celebration at the Cotton Club Museum in downtown Gainesville.
The event is one of the kickoff events for the Journey to Juneteenth, a month-long celebration leading up to the national holiday on June 19.
“We’re the only city in the state,” said the event’s organizer, Zeriah Folston, “we’re the only city in the country that we’re aware of that does this. What you’re going to be seeing during this month is events like this for the whole family, events that you can come and be educated, you can come and learn.”
Emancipation Day celebrates the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Florida on May 20, 1865, nearly two and a half years after it was issued.
“It’s an important day for us to come out and celebrate,” said Folston. “It’s important for us to come out and commemorate...So many citizens came out--citizens who don’t look like me came out--and supported us to be able to make this day what it was today.”
“It’s very important for everybody to know when freedom occurred,” said Vivian Filer, “and that was the day. It’s very important to know all the days, but Florida should definitely celebrate its day.”
“One of the events on the Journey to Juneteenth will honor Filer as “Queen Mother” of North Central Florida. She will be enstooled in a ceremony that has its roots in the African diaspora.
“Well the honor means that somebody out there thinks I’m important,” said Filer with a chuckle. “I really feel honored, I feel like it ties me to Mother Africa and to me that is a near-and-dear thing, to be associated with Mother Africa.”
Other events on the Journey to Juneteenth include a film festival on June 10 and a freedom walk 5K and freedom fest on June 17.
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