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Arts & Culture

The Document That Ended American Slavery Hits The Road

A picture of the 13th Amendment document.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

North Carolina's copy of the 13th Amendment is now on tour.  The document that marked the formal end of slavery in the US will be on display at the courthouse in Historic Edenton. 

Officials say the series of stops at historic sites across the state is part of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  The timing is also linked to Juneteenth. African Americans observe June 19th as when the last of the enslaved learned they were free in the summer of 1865. 

Sarah Koontz is a state archivist.  She said the document has to be handled with care.

“The way they sent the amendments, and you can see this if you come look at it. They are two pages and they are attached with a ribbon and a seal, so it’s kind of a fancy looking document, but that keeps us from opening it up,” Koontz said.  “So, the first page will be shown and then the second page is actually a duplicate because that's where the fragility is.  We can't open it flat because of the ribbon that's attached to both pages.”

A picture of shackles.
Credit NC Department of Cultural Resources
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NC Department of Cultural Resources

Koontz said the 13th Amendment will also travel to original slave cabins at Historic Stagville in Durham and Vance Birthplace in Weaverville next week.

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