A nascent New South city, some might say, but Charlotte is deeply rooted in a Revolution-era past. You just have to know where to to look.
The reading of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Men dressed in full redcoat redcoat regalia march down Tryon Street just south of Charlotte's main intersection, fittingly known as Independence Square (aka 'The Square'). Armed with rifles and fife and drums, the group is a sore thumb in a sea of buttoned-downed bankers. Its May 20, Meck Dec day in the Queen City.
Short for the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the Meck Dec was signed and read on Charlotte's courthouse steps on May 20, 1775, more than a year prior to the national declaration.
"...we the citizens of Mecklenburg county, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown..."
It reads of invasion of the inalienable rights of man, a crown that has "wantonly trampled on our rights." It reads of a community fed up. And it was the first time the colonies provoked Great Britain by pursuing freedom from overseas rule.
As the story goes, the day before, on May 19, militia Captain James Jack (whose name might ring a bell because of a popular pilsner at Old Mecklenburg Brewery honors him), reportedly had come through on horseback telling disturbing stories of recent nearby battles, infuriating Charlotte's most prominent into action. That night, the Heck Dec was born.
After if was read and signed, Capt. Jack reportedly rode it - a treasonous trip punishable by death if intercepted - the the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. A statue commemorating Jack's pursuit, "The Spirit of Mecklenburg," stands at the corner of Kings Drive and Fourth Street, several blocks south of Uptown along the walkable Little Sugar Creek Greenway's Trail of History.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte (wheretraveler.com), "The City With(out) History," Virginia Brown.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass