May 20th
in the News

Capt. Jack’s Ride

The map shows Capt. Jac’s likely route from Charlotte to Philadelphia overlaid on this reproduction of a map of Colonial roads in 1775 from the National Archives. To view map, click here.

Charlotte Observer
May 21, 2010

Capt. Jack rides again

Under a brilliant sun Thursday, Charlotte’s most recognizable Revolutionary War figure, Capt. James Jack, rode again – and will ride forever more. At 12:15 p.m., 235 years – and 15 minutes – after Col. Thomas Polk is believed to have read papers declaring Mecklenburg’s independence from England, members of Charlotte’s May 20th Society took the wraps off a $525,000 bronzed statue of Jack and his galloping steed at Kings Drive and East Fourth Street. Read more.

David Perlmutt
Charlotte Observer
May 21, 2010

Finding Charlotte’s Soul in Tales of Early Rebellion

Chas Fagan’s 3-ton bronze, “The Spirit of Mecklenburg,” to be unveiled today, ought to help Charlotteans better understand their city, where it came from and, just maybe, where it’s going. The statue depicts Capt. James Jack, a tavern keeper in pre-Revolutionary Charlotte – a rebellious hamlet founded where two trading paths crossed and named for the queen, to curry favor with King George III. Read more.

Charlotte Observer
May 20, 2010

Statue salutes ‘Meck Dec,’ its mystery

Tightly wrapped in parachute nylon, a 3-ton statue set to be unveiled Thursday honoros the spirit of a Charlotte man who helped fan the flames of rebellion as war clouds gathered in the summer of 1775. His name was James Jack. He was a Trade Street tavern-keeper, a captain in the local militia. Read more.

David Perlmutt
Charlotte Observer
May 16, 2010

Behind every successful rebel

Captain James Jack is on his way – and he’ll be greeted by Cokie Roberts. Roberts, a national political correspondent for ABC News and National Public Radio comes to Charlotte next week as part of the city’s annual MecDec celebration. The day marks the region’s role in the rebellion that led to the Revolutionary War. Read More.

Erik Spanberg
Charlotte Business Journal
May 14, 2010

The ‘Spirit of Mecklenburg’ lives next door

The “Spirit of Mecklenburg” statue of Capt. James Jack will be unveiled by the May 20th Society atthe corner or Fourth Street and Kings Drive in uptown Charlotte on May 20 at 11:30 a.m. But you don’t have to be a history buff to feel like you know the man riding the horse: He’s the guy next door for some Raeburn residents. Read more.

June K. Noe
South Charlotte News
May 5, 2010

Dandelion Press: Meet Captain Jack

We all know, or I hope we do, about Captain Jack, “The Paul Revere of the South” who carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775 by express to the Continental Congress in Philadephia. His journey established Charlotte Town and Mecklenburg County as the first to cast off the yoke of British oppression and declare themselves “A Free and Independent People.” But who was Captain Jack, really? Read more.

Newsletter of the Mecklenburg Historical Association Docents
Dandelion Press
May, June, July, August 2010

Honoring Our Revolutionary Patriots

We honor our early patriot Captain James Jack. He is recognized by historians as a patriotic hero to the people of Mecklenburg, Union and Cabarrus counties. He represents the spirit that has defined our area since its inception over 250 years ago. In May of 1775, two revolutionary documents demanding personal, religious, and economic freedoms from the throne of England were written by the local leaders and proclaimed on the square in the community known as Charlotte, North Carolina. Read more

Daughters of the American Revolution Newsletter
January/February 2010

America’s Self-Validating Tradition

Mecklenburg County – The impatient patriots here had splendidly short fuses in 1775. Those who tilled the startling red clay or who lived in the town named for George III’s wife Charlotte might have been bemused had they foreseen the annual hoopla that commemorates July 4, 1776. Read more.

George Will, National Columnist
Charlotte Observer
July 3, 2008

On May 20, Patriots Took a Stand in N.C.

In 1762, a section of land from Anson County was set aside in western North Carolina to form a new county. Where two stagecoach roads crossed, a little town was founded in honor of King George’s wife Queen Charlotte. Read more.

Etta Reid
Greensboro News and Record
June 29, 2008

Filmmaker Ken Burns Attends MecDec Day Event

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns talks with May 20th Society executive committee members Charles Jonas and Scott Syfer of Moore & Van Allen, one of the event sponsors, during a May 20 reception for Burns on the rooftop of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. Read more.

Olivia Fortson
Charlotte Observer
June 1, 2008

Documentary Guru Here Helpin’ Tout Area History

I chatted with the genius sprite of PBS, Ken Burns, on the rooftop patio of the uptown Mint on Tuesday night. Hosts of the party: The May 20 Society – passionate patriots proclaiming their love of our bold “Meck Dec” Declaration of Independence in 1775. Read more.

Jeff Elder
Charlotte Observer
May 22, 2008

The Mecklenburg Declaration

Whether history or hoax, it reflects spirit of Mecklenburg in 1775, when people were ready to fight for freedom

Mention the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and listeners split into two camps: Believers: They point to ample evidence – including statements from participants – that 27 freedom-loving men met in Charlotte on May 20, 1775… Read more.

Ed Williams
Charlotte Observer
May 20, 2008

Defending the MecDec

233 years ago, Mecklenburg settlers signed a groundbreaking Declaration of Independence…right? Read more.

Amy Baldwin
Charlotte Observer
May 12, 2008

James Jack Returns

Young professionals remember the real rebels

“Who will take this declaration to Philadelphia for us?” cries the man on the steps. Thundering down Tryon Street on horseback comes James Jack. To the crowd’s amazement, he rides up to the courthouse steps, shouting, “I will!” Read more.

Laurie Prince
Charlotte Magazine
May, 2008

Captain Jack’s Bike Ride

Captures Spirit of MecDec Commemorates Historic 1775 Ride

The May 20th Society is partnering with Charlotte Health and Fitness (CHF) magazine on a bike ride to commemorate Charlotte’s original rebel, Captain James Jack. Read more.

Charlotte Health and Fitness Magazine
May, 2008

It’s the Type Of Story That Inspires Epic Novels

There are heroes and villains.
The plot features intrigue, treason, and narrow escapes.
It’s the story of Charlotte.
Read more.

Uptown Magazine
May, 2008

Joanna Nix Supports The May 20th Society

Joanna Nix supports The May 20th Society. Read more.

Charlotte Taste
August, 2007

Historian’s Lesson: Teach Kids History

Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School student Drew Gaertner, 14, greets historian David McCullough, who spoke Thursday morning at ImaginOn. Read more.

Charlotte Observer
May 18, 2007

Events Honor Mecklenburg Declaration Of 1775

More than a year before the Declaration of Independence, Mecklenburg leaders signed a document asserting that they, not the king, controlled local government. And for nearly 200 years, local leaders have celebrated the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, “MecDec” for short. Read more.

Leigh Dyer
Charlotte Observer
May 14, 2007

History Isn’t Just About the Past

Author David McCullough says everyone should learn about history because it is the story of all human endeavor.

David McCullough has become America’s foremost historian during a 40-year writing career that includes two Pulitzer Prizes and a string of best-selling titles. In December, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Read more.

Erik Spanberg
Charlotte Business Journal
May 11, 2007

Take a Trip Into the Past With Free Historical Events

Want to know more about Charlotte’s history? Three free events are coming up, starting today. First off, newcomers may be wondering why they keep hearing the word “MeckDec” in May. It refers to a Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence signed by local patriots on May 20, 1775. Read more.

Leigh Dyer
Charlotte Observer
May 6, 2007

Mystery Still Surrounds Meck Dec

No known copy exists, but that doesn’t stop folks from celebrating it. For more than 200 years, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence has caused a stir. Its signing date is recorded on the N.C. state flag. Read more.

Melinda Johnston
Charlotte Observer
May 6, 2007

Hoax or History

Before our country declared its independence from England, a group of Mecklenburg County leaders signed the first document of freedom. Or did they? Read more.

Carol Timblin
Our State
October 2005

For more information on May 20th Society 2009 events or to obtain media credentials for any of The May 20th Society events, please contact The May 20th Society at