In Remembrance: Our Ancestors’ Emancipation Day

Following in the footsteps of my ancestors in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, in an attempt to experience Emancipation Day celebrations of days past as they would have known them. Most white newspaper accounts of the day focused on participants’ clothing and comportment. Beyond an annual observance of “freedom day,” the celebrations were an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of the community, through sharing history, sustaining commitments to progressive political change, and fundraising for benevolent societies and community institutions.