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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Members of file and drum corps of the North Carolina Regulars at Meck Dec Day, May 20, 1999
Members of the fife and drum corps of the North Carolina Regulars parading at Meck Dec Day, May 20, 1999. Photo courtesy the Charlotte Observer

Mecklenburg Independence Day Celebration

In 1775, after learning of the Battle of Lexington, delegates to a Mecklenburg County convention voted to declare the county independent from Great Britain. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was read from the courthouse steps by Colonel Thomas Polk on May 20, 1775, and was adopted under the Mecklenburg Resolves on May 31. "Meck Dec Day", as it is now affectionately known, has been celebrated in the county seat of Charlotte ever since, with some exceptions during periods such as the Civil War and Reconstruction. Special anniversaries have frequently been on a grand scale, with parades, fireworks, dinners, balls, firing of guns, and prominent speakers such as Presidents Taft, Wilson, Eisenhower, and Ford.

After more than a decade of quiet observances, in 1996 the Mecklenburg Historical Association initiated a public ceremony that recreated aspects of the 19th-century celebrations with speeches by local politicians and firing of muskets by costumed re-enactors. A fife and drum corps, a public procession, and a wreath-laying ceremony were added in 1998 and 1999. May 20, 2000, will mark the 225th anniversary of the event, reflecting the county's long history of patriotism.

Originally submitted by: Melvin L. Watt, Representative (12th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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