NC legislative committee holds first America 250 meeting

Suggestions for lectures, and interactive and educational events were discussed

A reenactor pours a warm cup of coffee in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in 2009. North Carolina is preparing for the United States’ 250th anniversary, and events like the Battle of Guilford Courthouse could be featured. (Lynn Hey / News & Record via AP)

RALEIGH — The General Assembly’s committee tasked with planning celebrations and commemorations of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026, held its inaugural meeting on April 16.

The America’s Semiquincentennial Committee is co-chaired by Sen. W. Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland) and Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke).

Public members of the committee include Troy L. Kickler, Kyle J. Luebke, Jason E. Luker, Charles Batcheller Neely and Cary F. Poole.

Suggestions on possible activities were the focus and purpose of the meeting, which kicked off with a presentation given by Andrew J. Taylor, director of the Free and Open Societies Project at NC State.

Taylor’s presentation detailed North Carolina’s journey from declaring independence to supporting the U.S. Constitution, beginning with an outline of the state’s “crucial role in the drive towards independence” through the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence/Resolves and the Halifax Resolves.

Discussion included how the state should commemorate America’s 250th anniversary and included a variety of suggestions, such as raising public awareness of North Carolina’s role in declaring independence and highlighting key battles that took place in the state.

Other suggestions were to emphasize the importance of the country’s founding, civic engagement and to highlight influential or key figures, such as John Locke, Nathanael Greene, William Lenoir and John Ashe, and founders like William Blount, William Richardson Davie and Hugh Williamson.

Kickler proposed holding lectures at historic sites, highlighting historical markers and their stories to draw interaction and interest from local communities to America’s 250 and North Carolina’s role in it. He also thought teacher workshops would help to engage students.

Kellie Nothstine, Campbell University associate vice president for student life, also brought up an educational angle, asking, “How do we engage students and get their attention?” and “Who are the women in history we may not have highlighted previously?”

Nothstine told the committee “not to be afraid of technology and social media” and the power of those platforms to engage citizens, especially younger ones. She suggested interactive ways that could engage younger people such as Instagram reels and the use of QR codes.

“There has to be an ‘experience element’ to pull in the younger generation,” Nothstine said, adding that people are looking for that “Instagram-able moment.”

The committee’s next meeting has not yet been scheduled, however, the members indicated another meeting was likely before the end of May.

About A.P. Dillon 1293 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_