Juneteenth Tour of the 13th Amendment Ending Slavery Visits Historic Edenton

by May 12, 2014

EDENTON, N.C. — 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 by Historic Edenton State Historic Site at the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse June 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 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 Governor 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.

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.


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.

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state's communities. NCDCR's Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina's rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR's State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state's creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov

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