Along with colorful parades, concerts, talent shows, pageants, family reunion picnics and community barbecues, Emancipation Festival drew the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. George Washington Carver, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Eleanor Roosevelt and many other world renowned dignitaries annually to appear as guest speakers or simply to join the revelry.
Following the riots in Detroit in 1967 the festival was canceled due to security concerns. In 1969 the festivities resumed.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr pictured here with Russel Small, President of the Emancipation Committee, Rev. Theodore S Boone of Detroit and Walter Perry. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a guest speaker at the Annual Emancipation Day Festival. Courtesy of the Windsor Star, August 7, 1956.
William Wilberforce led the twenty-year fight to end the British slave trade. Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act through Parliament was assured.Click here to view movie (AMAZING GRACE)