NC Motorists Can Now Choose 'First in Flight' or 'First in Freedom' for Their License Plate

NC Motorists Can Now Choose 'First in Flight' or 'First in Freedom' for Their License Plate
Image: NCCC
July 1, 2015

Vehicle owners in North Carolina now have a choice when it comes to the state's standard license plate.

The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) unveiled a new 'First in Freedom' license plate this week that recognizes the state's historic role in the creation of the United States. Motorists can choose between the 'First in Flight' plate and the new 'First in Freedom' plate. This is first change to North Carolina's standard-issue license plate in 33 years.

"North Carolina is a state of firsts and we continue to be a leader in innovation," said NC Governor Pat McCrory. "What a great way to celebrate North Carolina's rich history and the birth of our nation by offering drivers a chance to proudly display a plate that honors our contribution to freedom, here in one of the most military friendly states."

The phrase 'First in Freedom' recognizes two 'firsts' established by North Carolinians during the early stages of the American Revolution. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves have been noted throughout history as the first steps by one of the original 13 colonies to secede from Great Britain.

"As a veteran I'm proud to help issue the 'First in Freedom' plate, honoring this important value that many North Carolina servicemen and women continue to fight for and uphold everyday," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. "We look forward to seeing these plates displayed proudly on our state roadways soon."

This new 'First in Freedom' plate was designed by Charles Robinson, a Troy, NC resident, historian and license plate collector. The plate features an amber quill pen, which symbolizes the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves. The signing dates of these two events, May 20, 1775 (Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence) and April 12, 1776 (Halifax Resolves), are featured at the top center of the plate.

Robinson used the amber color as a key component of the quill pen as a tribute to the primary color of the classic state license plates of the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Those plates were manufactured in amber and black.

To apply for your 'First in Freedom' license plate at no additional charge, please request the plate at the time of your vehicle registration renewal. A standard charge will be due if you apply for the plate at non-renewal times.

To find a license plate agency near you that can take orders for the new plate, visit the NC Division of Motor Vehicles website.