The Fifth Annual Emancipation and Abolitionist Ball concludes the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Florida’s Emancipation.
The 2nd Regiment of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) Living History Association is hosting the fifth Annual Emancipation and Abolitionist Ball to celebrate the freedom of African-American slaves in Florida.
The commencement will take place Wednesday, May 20 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Augustus Turnbull III Florida State University Conference Center in Tallahassee Fla.
The USCT has dedicated the evening to acknowledging the emancipation of African-American slaves in Florida, by portraying the lives of African-American soldiers and civilians during the Civil War era.
The evening’s activities will begin with a traditional Civil War dance, the quadrille and waltz, featuring the organization’s Reenactment Unit and the Ladies Axillary.
Tonja Webb, the Ladies Axillary chairperson, expresses how the character reenactments reshape the telling of African-American history.
“I think the most exciting part about it is dispelling the myths about slavery and giving a different perspective of African-American life during that time. When we reenact, most people assume we are slaves, but most of the women portray free women from the North, “ said Webb.
A dinner, featuring menu items that replicate the classical meal that was served at President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Presidential Banquet, will be offered with food provided by Heavenly Catering.
The locally and internationally recognized jazz and blues group, The Leon Anderson Band, featuring Avis Berry, has performed at the Emancipation and Abolitionist Ball in the past and will be present this year as well.
The annual Historic Preservation Award will be presented to an individual who is doing outstanding work in areas of the community, state and or nationwide. The recipient will be acknowledged for their contributions to the preservation of African-American history and culture.
To “protect, preserve, promote, educate and interpret the accomplishments of African-Americans who fought during the Civil War” is the primary goal of the organization according to the USCT’s mission statement.
The 2nd Regiment USCT President, US Army Retired, Sergeant Major, Jarvis Rosier Sr. comments on the importance of celebrating this historic event and its significance in American history.
“When I talk and speak, I always ask, do people know that Black History is 365 days, 12 months out of the year? It is not just confined to one month, black history is American history and we should look at it as such,” said Sergeant Major Rosier.
The preservation of African-American history and culture is important to African American students year-round. Rashaad Wilson, a senior economics major from Jacksonville Fla., expresses his appreciation for organizations that promote and preserve history in Florida and the Southeastern region.
“African-American history is so prevalent in the South, I feel like lessons and information on our history should be provided year round. The reenactments that the USCT provide are excellent visuals to depict African-American life, outside from what is usually taught in the classrooms.
The characters, members of the USCT, will be dressed in “period attire,” which is the clothing that their characters wear that reflect the styles of that era. Attendants are also encouraged to dress in period attire, however semi-formal attire is also acceptable.
Doors open at 6 p.m., and seating begins at 6:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to bring their children ages 6-12. They too can enjoy an experience of food, fun and fellowship at the “kiddie” ball, which will be held from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.
For tickets and sponsorship information you may contact Jarvis Rosier at (850) 509-0295.