May 20th, 2020, marks the 245th anniversary of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, which preceded the signing of the more famous Declaration by more than a year. Charlotte celebrates this date every year.
It is the day of the year that you’re most likely to see horses and people in Colonial garb in Uptown Charlotte. (It’s mainly the people wearing the colonial garb, not the horses.)
This year, events are happening online. All of the below events will be found on Charlotte Museum of History’s digital learning page.
2020 MeckDec Commemorations include:
Unexpected Homeschoolers Video
Will be released Monday, May 18th, 2020
The museum will release an Unexpected Homeschoolers video featuring Scott Syfert, author of “The First American Declaration of Independence? The Disputed History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775.” Together with historians from The Charlotte Museum of History, Syfert will discuss the legend of the MeckDec and its significance in North Carolina history.
Video Premiere of Chas Fagan Exhibit
Will be released Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
The museum will release a video premiere of a new exhibit featuring works by Chas Fagan, sculptor of The Spirit of Mecklenburg, the larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Captain James Jack located on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. The exhibit includes paintings and sculptures that Fagan created as studies for the final Captain Jack greenway sculpture, depicting Jack’s ride to Philadelphia to deliver the MeckDec to the first Continental Congress. Fagan is based in Charlotte and is known for his oil portraits of U.S. presidents. He also painted the official canonization image of Mother Teresa, and he created the bronze sculpture of President Ronald Reagan that is displayed in the U.S. Capitol’s rotunda.
Live Stream Reading of Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence
Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
The museum will live stream a reading of the MeckDec by local historian Robert Ryals. Ryals will interpret a first-person, fictionalized account of the events leading up to the MeckDec, and then he will declare it to notify all citizens of Mecklenburg County that they are now a “free and independent people,” divorced from the political bonds that tied them to England.
Lunch & Learn Series: MeckDec Edition
Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
The museum will host a special MeckDec edition of its new Lunch & Learn series on Zoom, featuring author Scott Syfert and host of the Charlotte Readers Podcast, Landis Wade. Scott and Landis will preview their full-length podcast and talk about Scott’s research into the legendary MeckDec. The Lunch & Learn is free. To receive the Zoom link, register at charlottemuseum.org/events.
Premiere of Video of new Captain Jack artifact
Thursday, May 21st, 2020
The museum will premiere a digital video featuring a historic artifact it recently acquired for the museum collection – a document that contains the signature “Capt Jack” on the back. The document is from 1776-1777 and provides an accounting of rations received by the 2nd Battalion of the North Carolina Volunteers, which fought against the British during the American Revolution. Was this Captain James Jack the messenger? Did he work to get supplies to Patriot soldiers? Learn more about this incredible piece of history, donated to the museum by the Lyerly family.
Premiere of new video, the Signers Cemetery tour
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
The museum will premiere a new digital learning video, the Signers Cemetery tour. It will explore the graves of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration and learn more about their lives beyond that fateful day.
More about Meck Dec Day
Some other Meck Dec related sites
- Charlotte Liberty Walk has a marker for the singing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
- The Captain Jack Statue, part of the Trail of History, is on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, at CPCC.
- The Matheson Bridge Mural, by William Puckett, visually depicts the story of the Meck Dec. You’ll find it under the Matheson Street Bridge, over North Davidson Street.
More upcoming events
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Friday, June 5, 2020
Saturday, June 6, 2020