In southwest Missouri, however, many communities still celebrate Emanciaption Day on the first weekend in August, since that is near the time slaves in this area first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation. I know that Joplin is one such community, and I'm sure there are others. The tradition of celebrating in early August has been going on continually (or very nearly so) as long as I've lived here and probably much farther back than that--all the way back to 1865.
But Joplin is not the only place that commemmorates Emancipation Day in southwest Mo. in August. At least, I know for sure that there were others that did so in the past. Golden City, for example, held a big Emancipation Day celebration on August 3 and 4, 1897. The evening of August 2, according to a brief piece in a Kansas City newspaper, was spent roasting and barbecuing beef and mutton so that there would be enough to last the next two days. All kinds of amusements were set up on the grounds, and the festivities drew not only black people but also many white people, "including a large number of suspicious characters." However, the celebration, featuring speakers from throughout southwest Missouri apparently went off without a hitch.