As we prepare to commemorate this important anniversary, a cross-disciplinary group of academics, public historians, and educators identified interpretive themes that will guide our approach to developing events and outreach. These themes inform how we at DNCR are sourcing and developing content that will define the statewide commemoration. We encourage you to refer to these as inspiration in planning your local activities.
The commemoration will focus on two broad concepts with complementary thematic avenues to explore these concepts: REVOLUTIONARY NC (the historical events of the Revolution and NC) and WHEN ARE WE US? (an exploration of the ideas of freedom, civic responsibility, overcoming challenges, and change as we lean into the ideals of democracy). The following themes are helpful in exploring these concepts in a variety of ways.
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION WAS A BEGINNING OF A CONTINUAL JOURNEY FOR NORTH CAROLINIANS TO SEEK TRUE FREEDOM
The American Revolution was an important marker on the continual journey towards true freedom for North Carolinians. This theme is a good place to identify political, military, or social Revolutionary era leaders who took bold steps to stand up to British rule. Here we will also highlight movements that pushed us closer to a better version of our state and nation – the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage, even scientific and industrial developments – have all shaped who and what we are as North Carolinians striving for the promises of 1776.
NORTH CAROLINA’S MANY VOICES INSPIRE FUTURE GENERATIONS TO CREATE AND LEAD
This commemoration cannot be told through a single lived experience. The historic and modern-day voices and stories of North Carolinians serve to inspire others to take innovative steps towards a “More Perfect Union,” and to ensure that all voices are heard. Our Revolutionary ancestors have much to tell us about their lives and experiences. Voices from our recent past can also inspire us to recognize that “out of many, one” voice can be heard, can make change, and can affect us all.
PLACES CARRY OUR STORIES OF STRUGGLE, CREATION, AND CONNECTION TO ONE ANOTHER
We must recognize that we are students, witnesses, and makers of history. Physical spaces hold shared stories of struggle, creation, and connection and our spaces of reverence (battlefields, historic spaces, the natural world) can echo happiness, violence, painful memories, evidence of struggles, rebirth, and growth. All hold the narratives of collective and individual struggle, creativity, and relationships to one another. We must always strive for common ground and ways to make our state a better place.