Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail

Civil Rights in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Our timeline for this tour begins at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Fredericksburg’s location halfway between Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, and Washington, DC, made it the site of intense fighting as Union and Confederate armies advanced and retreated. Enslaved Black people took advantage of the shifting lines to emancipate themselves. During the summer of 1862, over 10,000 enslaved people escaped bondage by crossing the Rappahannock River in and around Fredericksburg. At a national level, in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by the states to abolish chattel slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” In order to regain federal representation, the former Confederate states, of which Virginia was one, had to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment.

This tour includes sites where Black people created educational, housing, and business opportunities in the midst of Jim Crow era segregation, as well as buildings where people protested racial segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. As in the rest of the United States, Fredericksburg’s Civil Rights history continues into the present and this tour includes sites associated with Black political leaders in the mid to late 20th century and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Trail Overview:
Fredericksburg’s Civil Rights Trail has two parts.
Part 1 is a 2.6 mile walking tour through Fredericksburg’s historic downtown district that starts at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center.
Part 2 which starts on University of Mary Washington’s campus and includes stops at Shiloh Cemetery and the Dorothy Hart Community Center. Part 2 is .5 of a mile walking on campus and 1.9 miles of driving.

Contact Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail
706 Caroline St
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