Declaration is a hit among students, visitors

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

Nearly 1,000 people had seen an orginal copy of the Declaration of Independence on display in Selma Wednesday afternoon.

Two Selma Police Department officers guarded the document as visitors and students passed by it.

On display is one of 25 known copies of 200 original Dunlap broadsides of the Declaration of Independence.

Most visitors were students like Gregory Ware, an eighth grade student at Selma Middle CHAT Academy.

Ware said it was an honor for the document to come to Selma because its a highly appreciated work.

Ware said he’s read the Declaration before in class, but after seeing it firsthand, his view of it is changed.

Before viewing it, Ware said, he thought it wasn’t so important. However, after visiting the exhibition on Wednesday, he believes it needs to be shown in hopes viewing it will change the way people act.

Kelisha Thomas, another eighth grade CHAT Academy student, said

the document says all people are equal no matter how tall, short, rich or poor they may be.

Adrain Safford, an eighth grade CHAT Academy student, said at the exhibition she was told that some mistakes were made in the document.

Some words that began with an &uot;S,&uot; Safford said, instead begin with an &uot;F.&uot;

Safford added that she didn’t know words were pronounced differently at the time the Declaration was made.

In addition to students making their way through the exhibition on Wednesday, a few adults also came to take a look at the document.

Carolyn Gaines-Varner of Selma said that she has mixed feelings about the Declaration because of the status of African-Americans at the time it was written.

Varner, however, added that she was glad she got a chance to see the document.

Jasculca, who’s been with the Road Trip since June 2002, said she was drawn to the document because of owner Norman Lear’s desire to get people involved and participating in their communities.

She remembered one 10-year-old boy in North Carolina who got so excited about the Declaration that he couldn’t stay away.

The boy came with his class one morning, Jasculca said, and then rode his bike back to the exhibit after school and offered to volunteer.

Jasculca said that he took some literature about the exhibition and brought people to it explaining how important it was they see the document for themselves.

Jasculca got involved in the Road Trip after moving to Los Angeles from Chicago. She had worked in public relations for eight years, Jasculca said, and was tired of the cold so one day she packed her bags and moved to California.

After getting to Los Angeles, Jasculca said she talked to the Road Trip organization on a purely informational basis at first. However, as she continued speaking with the group, Jasculca said she got more excited about the project.

Now, Jasculca said, she’s hoping to stay with the Road Trip until it finishes Dec. 2004.

The Declaration of Independence will be on display at the Slavery and Civil War Museum Thursday.