Constitution Day might not be a holiday you celebrate like Memorial Day or Independence Day, but, especially in North Carolina, it is a day filled with significance and crucial history, that proves just how important our state is in U.S. history.
If you are just hearing about it now, Constitution Day recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who became U.S. citizens. North Carolina played a part in creating the Bill of Rights, which was established just 35 minutes from Piedmont Community College (PCC), in Hillsborough (then Hillsboro), N.C.
Tiffany Skouby, PCC’s Director of Student Engagement said that PCC plans to add to the importance this year by presenting a speaker who has deep knowledge on the topic.
“Like Independence Day, Constitution Day holds heavy historical significance for our country and state, but this year PCC is bringing in a speaker who can truly explain North Carolina’s part in creating the Bill of Rights,” Skouby said. “North Carolina was the only state that voted to postpone ratifying the Constitution until provisions were made for introducing a Bill of Rights to Congress and the ratifying states, which had a huge significance on the Constitution.”
The speaker she is referring to is Scott Washington, Hillsborough Historian, history researcher, writer, storyteller, and public speaker. He is a graduate of Duke University, presents history to thousands of North Carolinians annually, and is a weekly guest on one of the longest running live history themed radio segments “History Matters,” on WCHL in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Washington’s interest in Constitution Day celebrations comes naturally as he is the leading historical expert on the 1788 Constitutional Convention held in Hillsborough, which was critical to a Bill of Rights being included in the U.S. Constitution.
Washington said as 2021 is the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, he is thrilled to speak with the PCC Pacer community to teach and enlighten all that this state did to change the course of history, in a neighboring town just up the road.
“My hope is that attendees will take away a greater appreciation for why the Constitution matters,” Washington said. “I hope anyone who attends in person or virtually will have a better understanding of how the Constitution came to be, why it is the way it is, and the role North Carolina played in ensuring that Americans had a basic Bill of Rights to protect their civil liberties and legal fairness.”
Skouby said that Washington’s personality and passion is infectious, and she knows that visitors will be excited after meeting him and listening to the way he delivers history.
“His natural enthusiasm for history can be summed up in two words, “History Matters!” Skouby said. “After meeting him, you’ll be a believer too.”
“I have given presentations to thousands of visitors to Hillsborough from across the United States, around the world, and across the state and region. I love this history and, I assure you, it is not boring, nor am I!” Washington said with laugh.
PCC is celebrating Constitution Day with Washington on Thursday, Sept. 16 from 12-1 p.m. on the College’s Person County Campus Courtyard. The event is open to the public, refreshments will be provided, prizes will be given away, and one attendee will receive a pocket sized copy of the U.S. Constitution.