First in Freedom

North Carolina 1975 "First In Freedom" License Plate

This plate was issued at the end of 1974 to honor the "Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775". The plate immediately caused a storm of controversy over the slogan "First In Freedom".

The slogan drew objections from people who criticized North Carolina for its foot-dragging on issues of freedom and equality for blacks and women. Other "special interest" groups questioned the right of a southern state that had seceded from the union during the Civil War to claim to have been "First in Freedom". Some people taped over the slogan. Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in a separate case, over the New Hampshire slogan 'Live Free Or Die') that car owners could obliterate offending slogans on their license plates.

Special interest groups pressured the NC State Legislature to change the slogan. In 1982, North Carolina changed the tag slogan to 'First in Flight. This was a sad day in NC history when politics won out over reason and patriotism.

North Carolina was the first State to declare independence from England, we were "First In Freedom", and the special interest groups or the politicians can't change that fact!


1. The Mecklenburg Declaration document can be found in: American Historical Documents, 1000-1904 The Harvard Classics.   1909-14

2. It is also on web at: http://www.bartleby.com/43/15.html