In Paducah today the community celebrated the 152 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The annual Eighth of August Celebration draws hundreds of families to celebrate the African American history of Paducah.
“And, this is a time when we all get together with family, classmates and just have a good time,” Orlando McReynolds said.
Reynolds is celebrating his first eighth of August celebration as a resident in more than 30 years.
This year’s theme, according to the city, is “The Future is NOW: From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the present, progress continues.
Paducah is unique in its celebration of on August 8th, says McReynolds. The celebration has been going on since 1863 he added.
“Actually, Paducah’s on the forefront. If you go to the various towns between here and Lexington they each have their day, maybe a week or so later,” McReynolds explained.
“But on a national basis in the black community across America, June 19th or June Teenth has become the nationally adopted day of emancipation. But here in Paducah, it’s been the eighth of August since the actual time of the Emancipation Proclamation.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law on January 1, 1863. The measure freed millions of slaves in the ten confederate states.
Events for the annual celebration continue this evening and tomorrow.