Celebrate Black History Month.
Learn how African Americans have played a vital role in the rich history of Fredericksburg.
We invite you to explore and learn notable stories while honoring the achievements and contributions of our culture.
Fredericksburg offers meaningful ways to create a connection to the the nation’s African-American heritage and better understand the experience of those who came before us.
Here are a few ways to explore Black history in Fredericksburg.
Take a walking tour through the streets of Fredericksburg that details the life of former slave John Washington. Washington wrote about his 24 years in bondage where most of it was spent in a 10-block radius in downtown Fredericksburg.
The City of Fredericksburg has installed five new historical markers that highlight history of The Green Book, Freedom Riders Challenge a Nation, French John’s Wharf, and a State Historical Marker on the First Stop on 1961 Freedom Rides.
See the new panels here.
On February 10, 2022, a the fifth panel was unveiled at the Dorothy Hart Community Center. It was the site of a protest by the 1950 graduating class of Walker-Grant High School.
Watch the commemoration here.
Download the Traipse app on your phone. African-American Heritage of Fredericksburg Tour provides an opportunity learn and reflect. This free, self-guided tour shares some of the African American experience through the history of this city. You will be guided to 14 stops while seeing about local Civil Rights, murals, historic locations such as Shiloh Baptist Church – Old Site and more.
Take a look into the past and learn about the triumphs and struggles of African Americans in the Fredericksburg area.
Negro Leagues Baseball Short Stop Charlie Lewis
Who would have thought that Fredericksburg was the home of a Negro Leagues Baseball player—not a barnstormer—the original leagues. Admittedly, a lot of attention goes to the ones who “made it,” but for those who didn’t grab major headlines or break the color lines,...
Real Estate Mogul Ellen “Nelly” Van Vactor
Ellen “Nelly” Van Vactor’s headstone states that she was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1762; most of the official records, however, put her birth closer to 1780. She had two children: Ery Van Vactor (1802-1850) and Alfred V. Thompson (~1818- UNK). She was...
And then they became abolitionists: Liverpool and Mundowney Vigilante Families from Fredericksburg
On July 14, 1820, Dorcas Liverpool and her siblings had their statuses registered with the Clerk of the Superior Court of Law: “born free”. The 14-year-old’s parents, James and Frances (nee Bell) Liverpool, relocated to Fredericksburg several years after emancipation...
Prince Kimbundu Ailstock’s descendants in Fredericksburg
Over time, family surnames changed for one reason or another. Sometimes it is due to illiteracy in American English, and sometimes it is self-imposed to evade something or someone. For many African Americans, it was essential to put some distance between their wardens...
Fredericksburg Area Museum to host Black History Month Walking Tour
The Black History Month Walking Tour will meet at the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation on Saturday, February 18th.
The History of Fredericksburg Churches
When we think of places that connect us with Civil War history, battlefields are often top of mind, but Fredericksburg churches bore witness to the battles of more than 150 years ago.
Michael Carter, Jr. – James Farmer Scholars Program Graduate
Michael Carter, Jr. is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the 2021 top-ranked Historically Black College and University (HBCU). He is the president of the Fredericksburg-Prince’s Town (Ghana) Sister City Association, the owner of Carter Farms (a centurion family business that grows seasonal African, Caribbean, and Asiatic tropical vegetables); and, he is a James Farmer Scholars legacy graduate, class of 1996.
Fannie Mae Richards – Educating On Purpose
Fannie Mae Richards will always be remembered for fighting the good fight to equalize the education for underserved students. And although she made her home in Detroit, she will always be a source of pride for the City of Fredericksburg.
Rev. B.H. Hester – Neutral On Nothing
Rev. Hester is known for his forty (40) years of service to Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) and her parishioners.
Willie V. (Sonny) Holmes, Jr. – A Soul Generated By Love
“Sonny” as everyone knows him, has always been in love with history. While Sonny knew one version of American history, the one he wanted to know most about was his own.
A Historical Account of the Walker-Grant High School Graduating Class of 1950 and Why They Protested
In 1950, the graduating class of Walker-Grant staged a protest when the City restricted their access to the Community Center for their commencement ceremony.
Dr. James L. Farmer, Jr. – Distinguished Fredericksburg Leader And National Civil Rights Pioneer
Dr. James L. Farmer, Jr. earned national prominence as one of the foremost leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and as a noted and beloved professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA
Charles E. Dyson Jr. – Remembering and honoring the Fredericksburg Black Community
Charles E. Dyson Jr. led a life, only 31-years-long, that paralleled the rise of the Civil Rights movement and he pioneered his own path right here in Fredericksburg, VA
Rev. Lawrence A. Davies – Decades of Dedication to the Fredericksburg Community
Rev. Lawrence A. Davies became the first African American to hold elected office in Fredericksburg, VA, serving for 30 years, first as a Councilman and then as Mayor.
Enduring inspiration. Devoting his talents to helping others develop their own allowed a beloved Fredericksburg artist and teacher to turn the art world upside down in his own way.
The 2023 Black History Month theme is “Black Resistance”. Learn more about the Black History theme and the ASALH here.
Learn about the lost voices of Fredericksburg’s enslaved and free black population during the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Video by: Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
Support Black-owned businesses! It helps the business and the whole community.