In 1867, the citizens of Trappe, Talbot County, Maryland created an annual celebration of “the Emancipation of the Proclamation”. The celebration was a way to pay tribute to the end of #slavery. The leader of the big day was a former slave, Nathan“ Uncle Nace” Hopkins. Hopkins was born into slavery in Trappe, Talbot County, Maryland in 1831 to Madison Hopkins, but the name of his mother is unknown.
Together with Blacks and Whites, Hopkins was able to organize the parade, meals, and church service each year. Because of the hard times Nathan and his family faced during the Civil War, he understood the magnitude of the emancipation and why it felt necessary to celebrate the day with the community. Hopkins was also known for having excellent speaking skills although he never formally learned to read or write.
Uncle Nace Hopkins, along with the community of Trappe, created “Emancipation Day in 1867” to pay homage to the past, recognize, and encourage the future achievements of the community. Hopkins was a well-respected leader by both whites and blacks who connected the community. The respect was exemplified by two accounts provided by the Easton Star Democrat. Each year, Hopkins led the parade until his death on March 23, 1900. It was not until his death that the day of celebration became known as “Uncle Nace’s Day,” which paid tribute to the importance of Hopkins to the local community. The celebration continues to this day and is said to be the only one of its kind in the country.