Back in time: NC House convenes session at old 1840 Capitol

June 14, 2022 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House returned to the state’s old 1840 Capitol building for a floor session Tuesday, the first by a General Assembly body there in three years.

Members and guests crammed into the old House chamber in the early afternoon to vote on two resolutions and a parliamentary action before adjourning after almost an hour.

When “you sit in a room like this and can imagine the magnitude of decisions over the years that came through this chamber, it really sort of puts a lot of things into perspective,” House Speaker Tim Moore told colleagues from the dais.

The General Assembly, which has met at the nearby Legislative Building since 1963, convenes one block south at the Capitol from time to time, often for special events or commemorations. The House and Senate met there on June 6, 2019, to observe the 75th anniversary of D-Day and to honor World War II veterans. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the legislators’ return to the Greek Revival-style seat of government.

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A memorable moment came when Democratic Rep. Nasif Majeed of Mecklenburg County spoke about his enslaved ancestor, Jacob Stanley Haywood, a skilled carpenter who participated in the planning and construction of the Capitol.

Majeed said it’s hard to believe that his family member would think that a descendant would be speaking in the building he helped create.

“Thank you dear great grandfather, for the fortitude in your struggle to maintain your humanity,” Majeed said before a standing ovation at the close of his remarks.

The Senate decided to hold Tuesday’s floor session at the Legislative Building, rather than join the House up the street. That made House leaders and staff cautious about what their chamber voted on. A reading of the state constitution could call into question some legislative actions when the two chambers met at separate locations.