An early Civil Rights organization established by formerly enslaved men and women to overcome the enduring legacy of slavery following the Civil War soon will be recognized with a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker.
The Hammond’s Hill Equal Rights League, formed in Edgecombe County in November 1866, connected local African American political agency to the larger struggle for full citizenship in post-Civil War North Carolina and the United States. The meeting followed statewide elections held in November 1865 that returned pre-Civil War white political power to office and was an outgrowth of the October 1866 Freedmen’s Convention in Raleigh.
The organization sought to counter citizenship limitations on African Americans passed by the legislature including the denial of the right to vote, the prohibition of testifying against whites in court, interracial marriages and gun ownership. Six months after the Hammond’s Hill meeting, there was a celebration in Tarboro with about 2,500 African Americans in attendance. This event announced the establishment of the Union League in Edgecombe County.
Historians use the Hammond’s Hill Equal Rights League as a touchstone in discussing the intense African American struggle for full citizenship following legislation designed to limit citizenship of African Americans in North Carolina. Because of this, it is likely the best-documented Equal Rights League in North Carolina.
The marker commemorating the Hammond’s Hill Equal Rights League will be unveiled Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., near the Red Hill Missionary Baptist Church (15463 NC Hwy 33 NW, Whitakers, N.C.).
For additional information about the historical marker please visit https://ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=E-129.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.