Eastern Kentucky communities along with people in Nasvhille, Memphis, and Southeast Missouri celebrated on the same day.
Many African-Americans from Tennessee moved into Kentucky, some settling in and around Paducah.
The telegraph provided instant communication, and Paducah had been outfitted with a telegraph office for quite some time.
Rail service provided fast transportation of people in and out of Paducah, and the Post Office Department had been running mail since 1792.
One thought is that Lincoln did not push the issue too much initially in order to preserve the fragile control over Kentucky and other border area states. The practice did not cease in Kentucky until December 18, 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment became a part of the Constitution.
There are several theories on why the date was picked.
Additionally, the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to rebel states.
It did not apply to Kentucky as it was not part of the confederacy and was a border state in the war.
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African-Americans in Tennessee largely celebrated Emancipation on the 8th of August after that event.
Greeneville became a mecca for the gatherings, much like Paducah is today.
There are two reasons that cast doubt on this explanation, however.