North Carolina Approves the 13th Amendment

African American Heritage Commission Chair Harry Harrison, Historical CommissionChair Jerry Cashion, Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle, and N.C. Council of WomenExecutive Director Jill Dinwiddie unveil plaques commemorating ratification of the Thirteenth,Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

African American Heritage Commission Chair Harry Harrison, Historical Commission Chair Jerry Cashion, Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle and N.C. Council of Women Executive Director Jill Dinwiddie unveil plaques commemorating ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

On December 4, 1865, the North Carolina General Assembly approved the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. In order for a state to be readmitted to the Union following the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson  required states to approve the amendment. Ten days following North Carolina’s vote the requisite three-quarters of the states had approved its ratification and thus it became law.

This action by the legislature in 1865 actually came almost three years after the Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in the southern states.  Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the freedmen’s convention met a few blocks northwest of the N.C. State Capitol.  That assembly was the first effort by the state’s African Americans to press for full political rights.

On December 6, 2010, officials of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, and others met to dedicate and unveil four plaques commemorating the extension of civic and voting rights.  In addition to one focusing on the 13th Amendment, the others so remembered were the 14th Amendment (granting rights to all citizens), the 15th Amendment (extending voting rights to new citizens) and the 19th Amendment (extending voting rights to women).

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