Although the publication of the Declaration of Independence took place in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, helping to launch the city’s Liberty Weekend, paraphrased former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne , declaring that the bulk of the work of the Revolution had taken place. in New Jersey. They just did the paperwork in Philadelphia.
Gusciora was participating in the weekend’s launch event, a public reading of the Declaration of Independence on Friday by 19 people, who read the sections individually and then gathered in unison to recite the final lines.
It was on July 8, 1776, four days after its publication, that the declaration was first publicly read outside Philadelphia, in Trenton in front of what was then the Hunterdon County Courthouse. As the boundary lines were later changed, Trenton now exists in Mercer County.
The program included keynote addresses and musical selections. Following this, some participants walked through South Warren Street (or King Street as it was known in colonial times) to a location where a new plaque was unveiled marking the exact spot where the words that gave birth to a nation were heard for the first time. outside Philadelphia 246 years ago.
It has been at least 40 years since there has been a landmark on the spot.
Bernard McMullan, president of the Trenton Council of Civic Associations, said the new plaque was the result of the support and cooperation of many organizations and individuals, citing the Trenton Kiwanis Club as its sponsor.
“From my perspective, as a community, we need to do everything we can to preserve our city’s history as a lasting legacy,” McMullen said. “This includes the restoration of plaques… It also involves being vigilant to conserve historic assets that are now under threat.
“Since 1776, as a community, we have allowed the loss of important buildings, entire neighborhoods and even sights, like the river.”
The plaque has a QR code that links to a number of different current Trenton residents reading the Declaration of Independence in English and Spanish. In the coming months, according to McMullen, a Braille version of the text on the sign will also be installed.
McMullen said funding for the marker was provided jointly by the Mercer County Cultural & Historical Commission and the Trenton Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. It sits on property recently purchased by the Communications Workers of America, who agreed to have the marker placed on their property, just off the South Warren Street sidewalk.
Liberty Weekend continues through Sunday and includes among other events. There will be a Saturday morning flag raising at the Battle Monument, a downtown scavenger hunt and a Saturday night concert at Cadwalader Park by 60 musicians with the Capital Philharmonic Orchestra.
The closing event is a 9:30 a.m. Sunday service at Historic Turning Point Methodist Church celebrating its place as the first Methodist Church in New Jersey, marking its 250th anniversary.
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Michael Mancuso can be reached at [email protected]