Known as the Fourth of July or Independence Day, today marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 by the Continental Congress declaring that the 13 American colonies were free as a sovereign nation.
But by some accounts, North Carolina had already declared independence from Great Britain a year earlier.
But historians have disputed the authenticity of the so-called “Mec-Dec” since it was first published in the Raleigh Register in 1819, 44 years after the so-called event.
Still, the date is enshrined on both the state flag and seal. And North Carolinians have long celebrated the holiday with events ranging from parades and picnics, to military remembrances and historical readings.
See more historical photos of North Carolinians celebrating the 4th of July in the past:
Before photographer Cornell Watson could open his new photo exhibit on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus, the university asked for the removal of specific images. Later, the university canceled his exhibition "Tarred Healing" altogether – less than a week before it was set to open.