Charters of Freedom groundbreaking held in Carthage

Moore County officials announced Aug. 31 that the Charters of Freedom, which are replicas of historical governing documents, are coming to Moore County. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in front of the Carthage courthouse under construction on Monroe Street.

Mike Unruh, director of communications and resources with Foundation Forward, Inc, works with Charters of Freedom, a North Carolina based nonprofit. He said there was a record attendance for the ceremony, with at least 30 citizens.

Mike Unruh, director of communications and resources with Foundation Forward, Inc explains the display plans Aug. 31, 2022, at the Carthage courthouse where the displays will be located.

Moore County Commissioner Chair Frank Quis opened the ceremony with a list of elected officials and supporters in attendance. He included Sen. Tom McInnis, mayors, law enforcement, attorneys, a construction firm, and a judge — all men.

Afterward, Quis included the Moore County clerk of court and the Carthage town manager, both women.

Quis said he could continue speaking about the significance of the governing documents coming to Moore County as he handed the microphone to Moore County Commissioner Catherine Graham.

“Men can be hard to handle,” Graham said as she took the microphone and added, “It’s a great day to be American!”

Her words were striking for anyone who knows the facts behind the struggle for women’s freedoms.

Charters of Freedom groundbreaking ceremony held in Carthage

The Charters of Freedom display a replica of The Civil Rights Amendments Aug. 31, 2022, at the Carthage courthouse.

The fact is the Declaration of Independence has 56 men’s signatures and bears one woman’s name. The woman is set apart from the men as the person who printed the document. Her name was Mary Katherine Goddard. Read about this fact here. 

The Charters of Freedom will be on display in a protected cement and glass casing. The documents include The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The United States Constitution, and five of its amendments.

The five amendments are referred to as The Civil Rights Amendments and are the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, and 24th.

Carthage is one of the first of five North Carolina towns to have The Civil Rights Amendments added to the Charter of Freedoms display.

The 13th Amendment, 1865, abolished slavery.

The 14th Amendment, 1866, declared persons born in America had equal rights.

The 15th Amendment, 1869, declared men could not be denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous slavery.

The 19th Amendment, 1920, gave women the right to vote.

The 24th Amendment, 1964, ended the prerequisite to pay a poll tax to vote.

“These are the things that make America great,” Moore County Board of Education member and attorney Robert Levy said about The Civil Rights Amendments.

The Charters of Freedom display will be roadside by the courts facility with a school bus zone to better educate children about the governing documents.

“There will be a time capsule placed into the back of the setting, which will include letters from members of the community, names of those who attend the dedication ceremony and have assisted in the process, along with pictures, videos, and other small items that represent Moore County,” Unruh said. “All of the time capsules in settings across the country will be opened on Sept. 17, 2087 to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the United States Constitution. They will be reopened every 100 years after that.”

Moore County Commissioner Frank Quis speaks about the advantage of having replicas of the governing documents on display at the Carthage courthouse Aug. 31, 2022, at the Carthage courthouse.

“To date, we have dedicated forty-one Charters of Freedom settings in communities across the country,” said Unruh. “These include locations in Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia. As North Carolina is our home state, most of the settings are here at this point. Twenty-five, to be exact. We currently have an additional fifty-seven settings in-the-works, including Moore County. According to our current build schedule, your local setting in Carthage should be completed and dedicated by Spring of 2023. This will position it to be among the First 100 out of America’s 3,142 counties or county equivalents to have their very own Charters of Freedom setting.”

Learn more about Charters of Freedom here.

To help with fundraising for the display, citizens are asked to purchase bricks. The bricks honor people with engraved names for $100. For $125, a name and military insignia are engraved. Contact or call 828-522-1400 to order bricks.

Feature photo: Moore County Commissioner Catherine Graham speaks at the Charters of Freedom ceremony Aug. 31, 2022, at the Carthage courthouse.

~Article, photos, and videos by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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