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Cedar Rapids Historic Markers

1899 news clipping about emancipation celebration in park

In the decades after the Civil War, many Americans commemorated the end of slavery and the Union (northern) military victory in that war. African Americans were especially influential in organizing celebrations of Union soldiers, emancipation, and the important roles blacks played in the war. In Cedar Rapids, African Americans—some of whom had personally endured slavery or fought for the Union—organized annual Memorial Day and Emancipation Day celebrations, often held here at Riverside Park. Such public celebrations honored this history and championed freedom and equality for all, an important reminder during the age of segregation and Jim Crow.

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