In the social and political life of African-American Ypsilanti, no day was more important than the First of August, Emancipation Day, the oldest celebration of the ending of slavery in North America. Ypsilanti’s deep ties to Canada and the Underground Railroad are highlighted by the cause of celebration, the day in 1834 when slavery was abolished in the British Empire and Canada became a refuge from American slavery.
From the 1850s until the 1930s, Ypsilanti was host to the regional celebrations with hundreds coming by rail from Toledo, Jackson, Detroit, Albion, Ann Arbor and Canada for the festivities. Work was stopped and the day treated as an official holiday as the region’s Black community and guests would gather to commemorate the freedom struggle with a parade through the neighborhood and up Congress Street to what is now Recreation Park for speeches, games, food and reunions.
For more information contact historian Matt Siegfried at email@example.com
Source : South Adams Street @ 1900 Facebook Page.