Winston-Salem in Forsyth County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
First Oﬃcial 4th of July Celebration in the United States
The First Official
4th of July Celebration
In the United States
At Salem, North Carolina, 1783
* * *
This Plaque Unveiled In The
200th Anniversary Year
July 4, 1966
Location. 36° 5.23′ N, 80° 14.49′ W. Marker is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Forsyth County. Marker is on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker located in courtyard in front of Salem College in Old Salem, between Church and Main Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Winston Salem NC 27101, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Salem Concert Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Mickey Coffee Pot (approx. 0.3 miles away); Washington's Southern Tour (approx. 0.3 miles away); Salem Cotton Manufacturing Company and Arista Cotton Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Salem Moravian Graveyard (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Salem Moravian Graveyard (approx. 0.4 miles away); Salem Town Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); R. J. Reynolds (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winston-Salem.
Also see . . . Naturalization Ceremony 2012 (Submitted on April 9, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.)
In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled "The Psalm of Joy".
Taken alone, the Wikipedia snippets corroborate the marker's claim. However, another site
states that in 1781 "The first official state celebration as recognized under resolve of a legislature occurs in Massachusetts", but no specifics are given about the celebration itself.
Questions that come to mind:
1. There were official declarations made about the 4th "as a celebration", but were there any official *celebrations*? (i.e. Who celebrated? Where exactly? How did they celebrate? What, if any, music was performed?)
2. There appear to have been celebrations before 1783, but were these celebrations *official*?
In lieu of specific evidence of a *celebration* that was *official* occurring prior to the celebration in Salem
Full Disclosure: I'm a long-time Winston-Salem resident, but have also lived in Massachusetts (Belchertown & Amherst).
— Submitted April 10, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Categories. • Patriots & Patriotism •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 680 times since then and 38 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 9, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.