The South Florida People of Color (SFPoC) launches statewide initiative that documents and archives nearly 160 years of history and culture that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the state of Florida since May 20th, 1865. Learn about the transnational freedom struggles and the sequence of events in liberating both Haiti and Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at the African American Research and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 at 1pm.
“The recent attack on freedom to learn in Florida underscores the importance of preserving and celebrating our history. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that the legacy of Florida’s Emancipation Day, May 20th, 1865, is taught, honored, and celebrated,” said SFPoC Project Director Roni Bennett in a press release. “Our digital history project is dedicated to preserving the significance of this important holiday and preventing its erasure from our collective memory. By raising awareness and promoting education, we hope to ensure that future generations of Floridians understand and appreciate the cultural and historical significance of the 20th of May, and the ongoing struggle for justice and equity.”
Unlike Juneteenth, which commemorates the day when enslaved individuals in Texas learned of their freedom, May 20th Emancipation Day is specific to Florida’s history. While the Juneteenth holiday is a key piece of Black American history, it is independent from Florida’s unique and indispensable celebration. The 20th of May, Florida’s Emancipation Celebration will consist of statewide events that will collect and share communal and cultural heritage stories and experiences.
“While we are excited about the meaning of the federal recognition of the Juneteenth Independence Holiday, we recognize the need to continue to celebrate and observe the 20th of May as the occasion that generations of our ancestors revered and respected,” said Dr. Tameka Hobbs, Project Coordinator and Library Regional Manager for the Broward County African American Research Library and Cultural Center. “This digital history project is intended to prevent the erasure of this important holiday, and to educate more Floridians about its existence.”
The digital history project will consist of a web portal rich with historical documentation, event listings, resources and interpretation of nearly 160 years of history that stems from Florida’s emancipation holiday. The project is guided by scholars and cultural preservationists across the state of Florida’s five regions including, Althemese Barnes of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network (FAAPHN); Dr. Natalie King-Pedroso of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee; Pasha Baker, Executive Director of the Goldsboro Museum in Sanford and Ju’Coby Pittman of the Eartha M. M. White Historical Museum of Jacksonville to name a few. To continue growing the platform, they are open to receiving News Clippings, Historical photographs, Contemporary photographs, Artifacts and Oral histories.
This is a Hy-Lo News Staff Report.
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