Orange County Marks 150th Anniversary Of 13th Amendment

Renee Price is a co-founder of Free Spirit Freedom.

The marker at Coachman’s Quarters in Hillsborough reads “December 5 ’65.”

That’s not the day the 13th Amendment was ratified, not officially, but it was still a day of celebration for Orange County residents, former slaves, who were finally about to win their permanent legal emancipation.

North Carolina voted on December 4, 1865, to ratify the 13th Amendment, which enshrined a ban on slavery in the U.S. Constitution. (News of the vote reached Orange County the next day – hence “December 5” on the marker.) The amendment officially became part of the Constitution on December 6, when Georgia voted to ratify.

On Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5, the local organization Free Spirit Freedom is holding a pair of events in Hillsborough to commemorate the 150th anniversary of  the 13th Amendment.  There will be a program on Friday evening from 5-7 in the Whitted Building on West Tryon Street: local historians Peter Wood and Freddie Parker will speak; there will be music from Wanda Crisp; and Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project will deliver remarks as well. McGill will stay overnight in Coachman’s Quarters, a former slave dwelling on South Cameron Street; then on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm the public will be invited to tour the building and hear from McGill.

Free Spirit Freedom co-founder (and Orange County Commissioner) Renee Price spoke Friday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


If you’d like to tour Coachman’s Quarters on Saturday, December 5, first go to the Hillsborough Visitors Center at 150 E. King Street to receive directions.

This is the Age of Too

Dear Editor,

This is the age of “Too.”  Too many demands – from kids, work, relationships, finances, health; even global events pushed on us via instant media. So we learn to compartmentalize. To pick and choose the battles.  To decide what piece of us we have to carve out for that next grasping hand.  Somewhere on that list, there are the philanthropies whether in money or in time. With the economic recession, many of us have had to whittle those kindness to the bone.  We’ve had to toss out envelopes with pictures of skeletal children, puppies shivering in fear, or the sounding of environmental catastrophes.  We are in the “learn to say no” stage of survival.  I get it.  I’m too am struggling to find some footing in my personal financial quagmires with the loss of a job, possibly a home and being more than just a little afraid.

Then,  I made the mistake of taking some down time to listen to Lisa Kristine on  I made the mistake of seeing, of listening, of feeling.  Now, I cannot compartmentalize this new reality.  I cannot justify inaction.  This amazing documentation of 21st century slavery is a brutal assessment of our values-an indictment of the loss of humanity for all our nations.  The images and the words are seared in my conscience and my heart, for that is what happens when you see, hear and feel Hell. Yet, somehow in that writhing inferno, I also saw true beauty, resilience, determination and good. I learned there are those brave enough to battle real monsters; no unrealistic happily ever afters, but dogged, systematic changes that brings hope for 27 million slaves around the world, around the corner. 

Nineteen minutes and twenty-two seconds. That is the time it will take for you to bear witness to one of the most important truths of our times.  Twenty seven million men, women and children who have never known anything other than suffering,  is counting on you to donate nineteen minutes and twenty-two seconds of your time.  If at the end, you choose to give five dollars, to write another letter to the editor, to sponsor a fundraiser in your school, or to just put your struggles in perspective, you will have changed.  Your burdens will be lighter.  Your love of your family stronger. Your gratefulness will abound.  Please. Bear witness.

Mae L. Arant