Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail – Part of the US Civil Rights Trail
The Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail follows the stories and sites of the local Civil Rights movement and highlights the role of Black residents in Fredericksburg’s history.
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.
Freedom, a Work in Progress
This story is not the final version. It will be updated as future stories and information are uncovered and brought forward.
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 starts on the University of Mary Washington’s campus and includes stops at Shiloh Cemetery and the Dorothy Hart Community Center. Part 2 is .5 miles of walking on campus and 1.9 miles of driving.
How to Explore the Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail:
About the US Civil Rights Trail
Featuring over 130 sites across more than 15 states, the United States Civil Rights Trail is a collection of churches, schools, museums, and other landmarks primarily in the Southern states, where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice.
City of Fredericksburg
Where WE All Come Together WE means everyone. Fredericksburg is a welcoming, inclusive community that actively engages its members and embraces partnerships to ensure racial equity as a value in all aspects of city life. Everyone feels they belong and shares a sense of place. Our diversity is woven into our community fabric and is reflected in our government, businesses, and vibrant city culture. Fredericksburg is a leader and a model of racial equity.City Council Vision/Desired Future States
University of Mary Washington
UMW embraces its obligation to serve the educational aspirations of all communities and seeks to reflect the diversities of all people in its students, faculty, and staff. This philosophical approach to diversity and inclusion strengthens our community and is essential to our academic mission and institutional excellence. UMW is committed to its responsibility to be a model of fairness, inclusivity, equity, access and equal opportunity, providing intellectual and institutional leadership regarding diversity, and maintaining a welcoming, inclusive environment of mutual respect for its members of all backgrounds and identities. In keeping with these tenets, the University is committed to a system of responsibility, accountability, and recognition of all of its members, and seeks to carry out these principles of diversity and inclusion in all of its operations, goals, and objectives.
University of Mary Washington's James Farmer Cultural Center
Multicultural Student Affairs strives to facilitate students’ learning and personal development, including those of historically marginalized groups. By educating and engaging members of the campus community on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, we promote a welcoming and safe campus environment where all students may thrive, succeed, and experience a sense of belonging.