Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail added to U.S. Civil Rights Trail
The City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington on Thursday, Feb. 8, announced that the Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail has been added to the national collection of landmarks that make up the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
The U.S. trail, which spans 15 states, includes churches, schools, museums and other locations that played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Fredericksburg’s Civil Rights Trail, “Freedom, A Work in Progress,” is the only one of the four sites inducted this year to the U.S. trail that is not a single entity, adding 21 stops to the national narrative.
Community members – many of whom had gathered at the trail’s official launch a year ago – attended an announcement event, held at Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), the first stop on the three-mile journey that winds through parts of historic downtown and the UMW campus. Prominent Black citizens and pastors of the church, including the Rev. B.H. Hester and the Rev. Lawrence Davies, played critical roles in the struggle for civil rights and social justice.
Fredericksburg Mayor Kerry Devine kicked off the event by revealing the city’s inclusion on the national trail, a surprise to guests who gathered by invitation to hear a “monumental announcement.”
“The landmarks are part of your history but also part of Virginia history,” Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Rita McClenny told the packed sanctuary. “When you walk up and down these streets where presidents have walked, where the enslaved have walked, where soldiers have walked … if we all can preserve and appreciate and understand that what we have in common is so much greater than what divides us.”