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Emancipation and Reconstruction in Florida

 Every May 20, Florida celebrates Emancipation Day. Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee on May 20, 1865, 11 days after the end of the Civil War and two years after the proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln.

This guide from the State Library of Florida explores Emancipation in Florida and the Reconstruction period that followed (1865-1877). 

Materials are generally available through interlibrary loan from our circulating collection. 

Links within the bibliographies take you to information in our State Library catalog or to more information on external sites. 



  • Cox, Merlin G. “Military Reconstruction in Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 46.3 (1968): 219–233.
  • Gleason, William H., and Edward C. Wilaumson. “Florida’s First Reconstruction Legislature.” Florida Historical Quarterly 32.1 (1953): 41–43. 
  • Hall, Robert L. “‘Yonder Come Day’: Religious Dimensions of the Transition From Slavery to Freedom in Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 65.4 (1987): 411–432. 
  • Howe, Kathleen S. “Stepping Into Freedom: African Americans in Hillsborough County, Florida, During the Reconstruction Era.” Tampa Bay History 20.2 (1998): 4–30. 
  • Shofner, Jerrell H. “Political Reconstruction in Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 45.2 (1966): 145–170. 
  • Young, Darius J. “Henry S. Harmon: Pioneer African American Attorney in Reconstruction-Era Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 85.2 (2006): 177–196. 

Digital resources 

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.