RALEIGH (WTVD) — The Independence Day celebrations of 2020 vary from community to community, primarily due to coronavirus concerns. But Black scholars in Raleigh tell ABC11 the Fourth of July has special significance for those with deep ancestral roots in North Carolina.
“One hundred fifty-five years ago today, as the Civil War just ended, was the first time that people who had been slaves could claim for themselves the words of the Declaration of Independence,” said Reginald Hildebrand, a member of the board for the NC Freedom Park planned for the corner of Wilmington and Lane Streets. “That they are entitled to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ So on that day, formerly enslaved people from fifteen, twenty miles around, came to Raleigh to celebrate their first anniversary of the nation’s freedom. And there was a grand procession that marched through these streets. Past the governor’s mansion, to the grounds of what was then known then as The Peace Institute. There was a ceremony and a program there at which the Declaration of Independence was read.
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