“Celebration of Day of Freedom” (April 4, 1905)


In this article, published April 4, 1905, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on celebrations in the African American community of Richmond on April 3, marking the date that Union troops liberated Richmond, bringing an end to slavery. This Emancipation Day or Freedom Day is otherwise known as Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19.


Negroes Cheered “Dixie” on Their Emancipation Anniversary.

Nearly every colored man, woman and child in Richmond, and the surrounding territory, took part in or viewed the big emancipation parade yesterday.

The crowd was orderly and was the subject of favorable comments from all who saw the line as it passed along to the music from several bands. The parade consumed something like twenty minutes in passing a given point, and was made up of various negro clubs and societies. An amusing incident was the cheering of “Dixie” on this occasion.

After the principal streets of the city had been marched over, the crowds centered in the ball park, where the orators addressed the multitude on the subject most in mind. The principal speaker was D. Webster Davis, whose oration was loudly applauded. Rev. T. A. Green was the other speaker. During the speaking a board on the bleacheries broke and caused a little excitement, but no one was hurt.

Closed With a Banquet.

Last night there was a banquet of the leaders at Price’s Hall, and at True Reformers’ Hall a colored opera company held forth. The colored hotels and boarding houses were full to overflowing with excursionists and the ward was a dense mass of people all day and far into the night.

The thousands of local colored people on the streets were augmented by many from the country, who, in their gay rigs, added to the general interest in the parade. Old darkeys, with ante-bellum beards, marched beside negroes of the younger generation, and cooks, waiters, porters, washerwomen and barbers knocked off from work to join in the festivities incidental to the celebration of the day that really marks the fall of Richmond rather than the negroes’ emancipation.

Late in the afternoon a party of disorderly negroes got in a fight on Cary Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets. The row created some excitement, and four of the negroes were arrested and carried to the Second Station. The men engaged in the fight were on holiday and it was stated that the fight arose over comments on the parade. This was the only affair of the kind that marred one of the largest negro demonstrations the city ever saw.

APA Citation:
Dispatch, Times. “Celebration of Day of Freedom” (April 4, 1905). (2021, May 25). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Dispatch, Times. "“Celebration of Day of Freedom” (April 4, 1905)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (25 May. 2021). Web. 29 May. 2024
Last updated: 2021, May 25
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.