The Fourth of July is always a special day at Historic Annapolis. This year, for the sixteenth time, we’re hosting a Naturalization Ceremony conducted by officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the William Paca House and Garden. It’s especially fitting that we welcome new citizens into the American family at William Paca’s home every July 4th, because he himself became a founding citizen of the new United States on that day in 1776.
It’s wonderful to look out over the diverse faces of the candidates for citizenship as they sit together in the front rows, and to hear the individual names and different countries of origin as each person is called to the podium for recognition. The simple yet profound truths expressed in the Declaration—that all people are created equal, with certain inherent rights, and that government’s duty is to serve them by protecting those rights—motivated Mr. Paca to take bold, revolutionary action 247 years ago, and they continue to draw people to our shores to share in the promise of liberty and freedom we enjoy as Americans.
The Naturalization Ceremony will begin at 9 am on Tuesday, July 4. The event is free and open to the public, but please note that seating is limited, as we give seating priority to the relatives and friends of the citizen candidates.
Following the ceremony, we’ll continue our Fourth of July Celebration at the William Paca House and Garden, the Museum of Historic Annapolis, the Waterfront Warehouse, and Hogshead. The admission fee includes entry to all four sites, which will be brought to life by our living history volunteers and other special guests. We are especially proud to host Nathan Richardson, renowned Frederick Douglass reenactor, who will share about the life of Douglass and present an excerpt from his speech, “For What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” The 10:30 am presentation will be presented on the front terrace of the Paca House, and is free and open to the public.
While you’re visiting the William Paca House and Garden, be sure to explore our exhibit We Hold These Truths: Maryland’s Signers and the Declaration of Independence, which opened in 2021 with generous funding from the General Society of Colonial Wars and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland. The exhibit examines the public and private lives of William Paca, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Thomas Stone and includes historic, personal objects associated with each patriot leader. It also reveals some surprising truths about the four Signers, the Declaration itself, and the complicated, sometimes messy, process by which America proclaimed its independence. You’ll come away with fresh perspectives on the people, events, and ideas behind the story of our nation’s founding.
Happy birthday, America, and welcome to our newest citizens!