Today, June 19, or “Juneteenth,” commemorates the end of slavery in the defeated South. The date reflects the timing of the announcement by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, the day after he’d arrived to occupy the city.

A similar announcement had already happened in Florida’s capital city on May 20, 1865 — the different timing reflecting the uncertainties surrounding the end of the Civil War and difficulties of communications as rebel states fell under federal control.

Per an account on the website of the State Archives and Library of Florida:

(Photo by Michael Moline/Florida Phoenix)

“In Florida, the process began in May 1865. Union General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to receive the surrender of Florida’s Confederate troops on May 10th. On May 20th, McCook formally announced President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House, effectively ending slavery in the state. As a result, many Floridians celebrate May 20th as Emancipation Day.”

The Knott House sits on Park Avenue in Tallahassee, about an eight-minute walk from Florida’s Old Capitol, then the seat of government and now a museum.

President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2021 recognizing Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday.

However, Florida does not recognize Juneteenth as a holiday for state workers — not even as an unpaid day of commemoration, although it does mark Robert E. Lee’s birthday on Jan. 19, Confederate Memorial Day on April 26, and Jefferson Davis’s birthday on June 3.

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12 is not a paid holiday but Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 15 is.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation in 2020 recognizing Juneteenth but hasn’t done that since then.