Photograph of “Eight-O-May” Parade c. 1900

An African American “Eight-O-May” parade at the intersection of Main Street and Fifth Street facing east around 1900. The exact origins of and reasons behind the Eight-O-May celebration is a source of debate. Possibilities include the surrender of General Nathan B. Forrest on or around May 8, 1865 or perhaps when Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, commander of some 10-12,000 troops, surrendered on May 4, 1865. It was May 8, that Taylor delivered his epilogue on the event. Either way, May 8, also known as “Emancipation Day”, became a holiday celebrated with parades, barbecues, and picnics in honor of the freeing of African American slaves. The Union Band, a band formed of former slave musicians, is shown above marching in one of the parades.

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Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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