In the early 2000s, the Riley Museum and the Knott House Museum came together to create a community-wide celebration for Florida’s Emancipation Day — the day in Tallahassee when enslaved people in Southern states were declared freed.
The annual commemoration takes place on May 20 each year and includes a grave decorating ceremony in honor of John G. Riley’s reverent walks to the cemetery to honor United States Colored Troops soldiers.
Instead of a walk through living history, there will be a drive-thru Living History Festival and Day in the Park on Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m.- noon, at Speed Spencer Stephens Park,1907 Saxon St. Historical reenactors will be engaged in activities of the era and attendees will be able to enjoy the festival from their vehicles.
Although much of this year’s event will remain virtual, the John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture’s new Executive Director, Aron Myers, connects its message back to the museum’s mission.
“Through this event, the Riley Museum is able to educate the community of our heritage in a way that can reach people of any generation,” says Myers. “This will be my first time experiencing the whole day of events. I am trying to prepare myself emotionally because these stories are so near and dear to my personal family history, and now, my extended Tallahassee family history.”
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