On May 19, 1775 a rider raced into Charlottetowne with news of the massacre of colonists by the British at the Battle of Concord and Lexington. Angered at this news and already burdened by the oppressive, unjust laws of King George III, tradition says that a band of local patriots met through the night and into May 20th to draft the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (or MecDec). On May 31, they met again to draft a set of Resolves that outlined how they would self govern. These treasonous documents declared that the actions of the Crown were intolerable and that Charlottetowne and Mecklenburg County were no longer under British rule.
A young tavern owner, Captain James Jack, volunteered to take these powerful documents on the arduous journey to the Continental Congress. Knowing full well that if caught he would be immediately hung; he risked his livelihood, property, family and very life to transport these important documents. Slipping past British regulars and spying Tories, Jack arrived in Philadelphia, demanding Mecklenburg County's declaration of freedom be read into record. Just as Paul Revere's famous ride alerted patriots to the British landing in Boston, James Jack's ride helped kindle the embers of revolution in the Continental Congress.
Captain Jack has become a legendary figure in the annals of Charlotte-Mecklenburg history. He is a significant symbol of our community; a community that has risked everything for the rights and protections that we take for granted today. This spirit is what the May 20th Society seeks to honor.
The Spirit of Mecklenburg, a statue of Captain James Jack, will be dedicated in the spring of 2010 at the corner of 4th Street and Kings Drive, with the opening of The Little Sugar Creek Greenway. Join the May 20th Society in bringing this vision to reality.
More information on the Trail of History
About the Sculptor
The Spirit of Mecklenburg statue artist, Chas Fagan, has been creating nationally recognized works of art for nearly 20 years. The self-taught artist has produced sculptures of President Ronald Reagan for the Statuary Hall in The Capitol building in Washington D.C. and of Neil Armstrong for Purdue University, just to name a few. He was also chosen to create an official, life-size portrait of Mrs. Barbara Bush for the White House.