Image courtesy of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

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Press release from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

WEAVERVILLE — A handful of documents changed the character of the United States. The 13th Amendment that formally ended legal slavery in this country is one of them. It will be exhibited in Western North Carolina at Vance Birthplace, in Weaverville, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 12.

As part of the observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, and in recognition of Juneteenth, June 19, the date many African Americans observe as when the last of the enslaved in 1865 learned they were free, there will be a tour of North Carolina’s copy of the 13th Amendment in June.

“The 13th Amendment wasn’t just a symbol of freedom; it was indissoluble proof that equality means nothing if it is not meant for all,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of this rare exhibition to view one of the most important documents in our history.”

The U.S. Congress passed the 13th Amendment on Jan. 31, 1865, and ratified it on Dec. 6, 1865. North Carolina’s copy of the document is stored in a climate controlled vault of the State Archives. The fragile document will travel to six state historic sites from June 5 through June 21, and will be at each venue for one day only. This will be the first time the document has traveled outside of Raleigh.

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Historic Edenton is the first venue on the tour. Edenton was an important stop on the maritime Underground Railroad as African American watermen helped runaways seeking freedom. It was the setting of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” the biography of Harriet Jacobs, that detailed her maritime escape from slavery in Edenton and her transformation into an advocate of equality for African Americans and women.

“As we approach the 150th anniversary of the creation of this important, nation-changing document, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources feels it is only appropriate to carry it from Raleigh to exhibit in appropriate symbolic locations,” Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz explained. “I think it especially important that we are showcasing this freedom document in slave cabins at three of the historic sites.”

The dates for the other five stops on the tour appear below.

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DATE       TIME       LOCATION
June 5       11 a.m. to 7 p.m.       Historic Edenton, Edenton
June 6       10 a.m. to 6 p.m.       Somerset Place, Creswell
June 12       11 a.m. to 7 p.m.       Vance Birthplace, Weaverville
June 13       11 a.m. to 7 p.m.       Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Sedalia
June 14       10 a.m. to 5 p.m.       Historic Stagville, Durham
June 21       10 a.m. to 5 p.m.       CSS Neuse Interpretive Center, Kinston

For additional information, please call (252) 482-2637 or visit http://www.ncdcr.gov/Juneteenth. The traveling exhibit is a collaboration among the State Archives, Division of State Historic Sites, Museum of History and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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