235th anniversary of the Halifax Resolves

Date of Halifax Resolves on NC flag

The state will commemorate the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Halifax Resolves today, which were an important part of the movement among the colonies advocating separation from Great Britain. The 83 delegates of the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina met in Halifax in the spring of 1776 and approved a bill which granted permission to the state’s representatives at the Second Continental Congress — Joseph Hewes, William Hooper and John Penn — to vote in favor of independence.

By approving the Halifax Resolves and allowing the state’s delegates to endorse independence in Philadelphia, North Carolina took its place as one of the states at the forefront of the revolutionary movement.  That movement culminated later that same year in the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  This historic moment in the history of the state is inscribed in the state seal and is featured on the state flag.

Every year, on April 12, the Historic Halifax State Historic Site celebrates Halifax Day. Interpreters in period dress guide tours of historic buildings and demonstrate historic crafts and other colonial activities.   Today’s 235th anniversary festivities will include a formal program at the Visitors Center at 2:00 p.m., featuring a presentation by Warren Bingham about “George Washington’s Southern Tour.” Two Halifax Resolves Awards will also be presented during the program. The Halifax Resolves Awards are presented to individuals, groups or businesses recognizing excellence in the field of historic preservation or restoration.

Today in Raleigh, the General Assembly plans to honor the occasion by convening at 2:00 p.m. in the old State Capitol instead of in its usual chambers in the Legislative Building.  Since the General Assembly relocated in 1963, it meets only rarely in the capitol to mark truly significant moments in the state’s history.

On the agenda today for the state Senate while it meets in the old capitol is the consideration of a pardon for Reconstruction-era Governor William Holden.  Holden was impeached and removed from office in 1871, the first governor ever done so in the country.  Rob Christensen has a great background article on Holden, his impeachment and the modern-day movement to have him pardoned in today’s News & Observer.

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