Since 1950, Exchange Clubs across America have dedicated thousands of Freedom Shrines in civic buildings, schools, libraries and state capitols. The Freedom Shrines are permanent displays of framed replicas of historic American documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Fayetteville Exchange Club provided a Freedom Shrine for the first floor of the Historic Washington County Courthouse in 1986 and rededicated it on September 17, 2010. Judy Albritton, president of the Fayetteville Exchange Club, provided opening remarks, and former Prosecuting Attorney Terry Jones spoke about the exhibit.
Recent updates to the collection of historic documents include Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's" Four Freedoms" speech, and an account of the proceedings of the Susan B. Anthony trial.
Only one document in the collection, the Mayflower Compact, was written prior to the concept of a United States of America. It was included "because it illustrates that the seed of eventual American freedom was carried to these shores by its very earliest settlers," according to the National Exchange Club.
The historic documents include:
The Mayflower Compact
Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence
Benjamin Franklin's epitaph
Patrick Henry's instructions to George Rogers Clark
The Treaty of Paris, 1783
The Northwest Ordinance
Washington's letter to Colonel Nicola
Washington's copy of the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution
Washington's first inaugural
Jefferson's first inaugural
The Bill of Rights
The Star Spangled Banner
The Monroe Doctrine
Lincoln's second inaugural
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Gettysburg Address
Lee's letter accepting the Washington College presidency
Theodore Roosevelt's letter on Cuba
The Thirteenth Amendment
The Nineteenth Amendment
Letter naming Eisenhower Supreme Commander
General McAuliffe's "Christmas Message"
Wilson's first inaugural
German Instrument of Surrender, World War II
Jackson's letter describing the Battle of New Orleans
Instrument of Surrender in the Pacific
F.D.R.'s "Four Freedoms" speech
J.F.K.'s "Ask Not..." speech
Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech
Account of the proceedings of the Susan B. Anthony trial
Original article written by Charles Y. Alison 9/1/2010
updated by Anthony J. Wappel 8/10/2016