Courthouse could host founding documents display

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A North Carolina nonprofit is trying to build “Charters of Freedom” outdoor displays of the nation’s founding documents around the country, and Nash County commissioners gave their unanimous consent to learning more about it earlier this month.

Nashville Mayor Donald Street and Nash Central High School history teacher Remmy Taylor proposed setting up a permanent display somewhere on the county courthouse grounds “so schoolchildren can come and see their national history,” Taylor said during the commissioners’ July 8 meeting.

The “charters of freedom” are the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, with a rotating fourth copy of a historical document, Taylor said.

“There are thousands of people who never get to Washington, D.C., to see those documents,” he said.

A western North Carolina couple, inspired by a visit to the National Archives to see the original documents, formed Foundation Forward, Inc. to set up Charters of Freedom displays in communities around the country. The foundation’s goal is “to educate the children and citizens of each community on how our government is meant to serve and protect We The People and to preserve history,” a foundation brochure states.

“It would be great for eastern North Carolina. The courthouse is a perfect place. It’s a natural setting,” Taylor said, noting that the foundation has already put up 19 settings in eight states, as far west as Nevada.

Taylor said no tax dollars would be involved. He said the foundation will make a presentation and reach an agreement with the county and a steering committee will be formed to design the setting and raise private funding.

The documents would be on a kind of brass plate, under bulletproof glass with a brick base, he said. The main requirement is that the display be outside open to the public and in an area with good foot traffic.

“We are in support of this,” Street told commissioners on behalf of Nashville.

“I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t (do it),” said county board Chairman Robbie Davis.

“I’m in full support of it,” agreed Commissioner Wayne Outlaw, and the board voted unanimously to proceed.