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Declaration Hits the Road

<div>Norman Lear, producer and founder of the Declaration of Independence tour, and students from Clairemont Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia, stand near a case containing an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. (Photo: J.D. Scott/AP Wide World)</div>
Norman Lear, producer and founder of the Declaration of Independence tour, and students from Clairemont Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia, stand near a case containing an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. (Photo: J.D. Scott/AP Wide World)

It may be more than 225 years old, but so far, it's shown no signs of slowing down. Last year alone, the Declaration of Independence traveled to New Orleans for the Superbowl and showed up in Salt Lake City at the Winter Olympics. Now, it's headed to a town near you!

As part of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, an original copy of "The People's Document" will travel across the country over the next two years. As the Declaration of Independence journeys from city to city and state to state, citizens nationwide will have the chance to catch a glimpse of America's birth certificate.

One of just 25 surviving copies, the Road Trip's Declaration of Independence kicked off the southern leg of its tour on September 11. During each stop, visitors will be treated to music, videos, and photographs that capture the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.

The next stops are:

  • North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 12–20
  • Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, Kentucky, October 26–November 3
  • Nashville, Tennessee, November 9–21
  • Mississippi State Capitol, "New Capitol," Jackson, Mississippi, December 7–15

In addition to the above schedule, the Declaration of Independence Road Trip will be announcing one- and two-day visits to smaller cities along the tour route. The exhibit also features viewings of a 14-minute film, produced by Norman Lear and Rob Reiner on July 4, 2001, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The film features actors, including Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Spacey, and Renee Zellweger, in a reading of the document.

"The Declaration of Independence serves as our nation's birth certificate and is a constant reminder of the freedoms that all Americans enjoy," said project founder Norman Lear. "It is an honor to bring this cherished document to the people of the United States to demonstrate and highlight the importance of civic engagement for all citizens."

Road Trip officials hope the tour will inspire all Americans—especially the country's youngest citizens—to participate in civic life.

The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson. Besides proclaiming the Colonies' independence from Great Britain, the document laid out the personal freedoms and human rights that have come to symbolize democracy in the United States and around the world.

About the Author

Karen Fanning is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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