Photos: Re-enacting the first time the Declaration of Independence was read aloud

2015.07.08 Declaration reading-1
Bobby Chen (@rysChen)

Four days after ‘Merica’s birthday marks another notable date in U.S. and Philadelphia history: the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Park rangers re-enacted the July 8, 1776 reading at Independence Hall earlier today, the last event of Independence National Historical Park’s annual Celebrating Independence program.

This is the 36th year Independence National Historical Park has held a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Copies of the Declaration were distributed to attendees.

This is the 36th year Independence National Historical Park has held a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Copies of the Declaration were distributed to attendees.

Attendees were encouraged to cheer (in support of the Declaration) or boo (against rebellion and in solidarity with the Crown) during the reading. Naturally, no one booed.

Attendees were encouraged to cheer (in support of the Declaration) or boo (against rebellion and in solidarity with the Crown) during the reading. No non-re-enactor booed, in case you're wondering.

2015.07.08 Declaration reading-5

<a href="http://www.jobecton.com/"><strong>H</strong></a><a href="http://www.jobecton.com/" target="_blank"><strong>istorian Joe Becton</strong> </a>portrays a circa-1776 attendee of the reading of the Declaration. Becton, staying in character, called foul at the Declaration's failure to emancipate slaves.

2015.07.08 Declaration reading-6

Park ranger Greg Severino, portraying <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Nixon_(military)" target="_blank"><strong>Colonel John Nixon</strong></a> of the revolutionary militia, raises the Declaration to cheers after completing the reading. Severino teaches during the year and works summers as a ranger.

Mornings in the know

Sign up for Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter for a daily roundup of Philadelphia’s most pressing news, top interesting stories, fun tidbits, and relevant events.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn article!

We don’t have a paywall, and never will. Instead, we depend on readers like you to keep our newsroom jamming on stories about Philadelphia. If you like what you see, will you support our work?

Thanks for reading a Billy Penn story

We don’t have a paywall, and our daily newsletter is free. Instead, YOU are key to keeping our nonprofit newsroom running strong. If you like what you see, will you join as a member today?

This story was powered by readers

Readers like you make articles like this possible, so thanks for your support. Want to make sure we stick around? Become a sustainer with a recurring contribution!

Tell a friend about Billy Penn

Thanks for reading another article — and we’re grateful for your support! Want to help a friend start their day with Billy Penn? Send them to our newsletter signup page.