The 8th of August Emancipation Celebration
In honor of the August 8th Emancipation Celebration, the Human Rights Commission of Hopkinsville Christian County (HRC), Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County, and Visit Hopkinsville celebrated on Sunday, August 8th, 2021, from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Pennyroyal Museum located at 217 E. 9th Street.
Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch and Christian County Judge/Executive Steve Tribble presented a city and county joint proclamation recognizing August 8th as Emancipation Celebration during this event. African Americans in western Kentucky heard about President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation or the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. However, history also points to Andrew Jackson, future President of the United States (17th President) freed his slaves on August 8th, 1863, in Tennessee.
Community leaders Gwenda Motley, Francene Gilmer, and Donavan Pinner recited excerpts from bell hooks, Bettiola Fortson, and Jourdan Anderson with Stories on the 8’s dubbed by HRC. A cultural dialogue with Shayla Lynch, J.D. spoke about her childhood memories of celebrating August 8th with Museum Executive Director Alissa Keller.
The event also hosted “DJ on the Dock” by VT Productions music filled the outside area with the smell goods from Brothers Get Down Pit BBQ, DJ’s Lemonade, and Afternoon Delight Ice Cream. Tesha with Different Strokes Paint & Sip provided a canvas to paint for $8. HRC wanted to highlight African American/Minority Owned businesses during the celebration. All vendors are from Hopkinsville. Quentin Jackson with Brothers Get Down Pit BBQ said, “this is an amazing event to be a part of celebrating our history and all the vendors sold out, which is what you want out of an event. I had a great time, and the music was on point!” Mr. Jackson provided grilled hotdogs to children at no cost. He was honored to be part of a local movement that provided a positive impact and return to our community.
“We had well over 200 attended; today was a day of recognition, restoration, and celebration. This is American history, and all citizens should know it. We should remember slavery and emancipation so that we don’t repeat the past. HRC’s mission seeks to unify our community by promoting beautiful diversity to improve the future. When we presented the idea to the Museum’s Executive Director Alissa Keller, they were on board and excited to open their doors for August 8th”, said Idalia Luna, Executive Director of HRC.
Amy Rogers with Visit Hopkinsville was brought to tears about the celebration, “when we talk about tourism, we boast about our rich history and Freedom Day for African American families in our area is history that everyone should know about!”
HRC endeavors to promote and secure mutual understanding and respect among all economic, social, religious, ethnic, racial, gender, and age groups; act as a conciliator in controversies involving intergroup and interracial relations, and improve the future of our youth. HRC shall cooperate with federal, state, and local agencies to develop harmonious relationships. HRC will also enlist the support of community leaders, civic, religious, labor, industrial, and commercial groups dedicated to improving such relations and eliminating discriminatory practices.