Halifax Day in North Carolina Date in the current year: April 12, 2024

Halifax Day in North Carolina Halifax Day is a locally celebrated American Revolution holiday observed annually on April 12. It was established to commemorate the Halifax Resolves, the resolution adopted by North Carolina that helped pave the way for the US Declaration of Independence.

The town of Halifax, North Carolina, is known as the “Birthplace of Freedom” because it was here that the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina adopted the Halifax Resolves, which is considered the first official action in the colonies calling for independence. It happened almost three months before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Although the American War of Independence began in the spring of 1755, independence from Great Britain wasn’t its original goal. The Thirteen Colonies initially rebelled due to the lack of colonial representation and taxes imposed by the Parliament of Great Britain. The idea of declaring independence began to take shape as the conflict escalated.

The main obstacle to an outright declaration of independence was that none of the Second Continental Congress delegates were authorized by their respective provincial governments to take any steps leading to such a declaration. The adoption of the Halifax Resolves was precisely what was needed to remove this restriction.

On April 12, 1776, 83 delegates of the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina met in Halifax and anonymously adopted a resolution that explicitly empowered John Hewes, Willian Hooper and John Penn (the province’s delegates to the Second Continental Congress) to vote in favor of independence should such a vote take place.

However, the Halifax Resolves didn’t instruct the delegates representing North Carolina to present a resolution for independence to the Congress. Such a resolution, commonly known as the Lee Resolution, was introduced by Virginia in June and passed by the Congress on July 2. Two days later, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Halifax Day used to be a public holiday in North Carolina until the 1980s. Although it is not a public holiday anymore, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources hosts various Halifax Day events at Halifax Historic District to commemorate the day. They include tours of the town’s historic buildings conducted by guides in period costumes, historical reenactments, demonstrations of historic crafts, etc.

Halifax Day isn’t the only local holiday related to the American Revolutionary War. Similar observances include Bennington Battle Day in Vermont (August 16), Carolina Day in South Carolina (June 28), Powder House Day in New Haven, Connecticut (April 22), and Yorktown Day in Yorktown, Virginia (October 19).

And, of course, Evacuation Day deserves a special mention. The holiday commemorates the evacuation of the British forces during or after the American Revolution; it is observed on March 17 in Suffolk County, Massachusetts and in Sommerville, Massachusetts public schools, and on November 25 in New York City.

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Halifax Day, observances in North Carolina, observances in the United States, unofficial observances, Halifax Resolves