In Knoxville, oral accounts from local area residents note the Eighth of August as, “The one day of the year when black people could go to Chilhowee Park and enjoy a great day of celebration!”

In keeping with Emancipation Day or the Day of Freedom, in Knoxville, Chilhowee Park was only open to African Americans one day a year, August 8, and this continued until 1948.

While history records that on January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves held in locations in conflict with the United States were henceforth free, Tennessee Military Governor, Andrew Johnson, freed his personal slaves on August 8, 1863.  This date became known as Emancipation Day throughout the region and annual celebrations, dating back to as early as 1871 in Greenville Tennessee, have taken place in recognition of this significant date in our nation’s history.

In April of 2007, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed House Bill No. 207 into law, officially noting that, “August 8 of each year shall be observed as “Emancipation Day,” to be proclaimed as such by the governor, to honor and recognize the celebration of the action of Andrew Johnson in freeing his personal slaves on August 8, 1863, and the significance of emancipation in the history of Tennessee.”


On Saturday, August 8, 2015 Beck will celebrate its 40-Year Anniversary with its inaugural “Eighth of August Jubilee“ celebration at Chilhowee Park. The City-Wide Celebration will include a full day of festivities for the entire family.  

While we intend to host this event annually on the second Saturday of August each year, without a doubt, this first year of celebration will be historic. Mark your calendars and SAVE THE DATE for the 2015 celebration and each year thereafter. We look forward to seeing you for a great time of fellowship.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a central figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s understood, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The Eighth of August is an occasion to reflect on a pivotal point in American History, it is a significant part of the history of our community, and it is a tremendous opportunity for families, friends and neighbors to join together in fellowship and friendship; the end is the creation of the beloved community. 


We invite the entire greater community to join along with us.