August 6, 2020

UMW Community Works with City on Freedom Rides Historical Marker

Last fall, UMW students and city residents retraced the route of the Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by James Farmer. Members of the UMW community are working with the City to establish a historic marker on the site of the old bus station in Fredericksburg, the Freedom Riders' first stop on their 1961 trip. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Last fall, UMW students and city residents retraced the route of the Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by James Farmer. Members of the UMW community are working with the City to establish a historic marker on the site of the old bus station in Fredericksburg, the Freedom Riders’ first stop on their 1961 trip. Photo by Lynda Allen.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams, Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin and Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Christine Henry were interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about their efforts to work with the City of Fredericksburg to establish a Virginia state historical marker at the site of the old bus station where the Freedom Riders stopped first in their quest to desegregate interstate transportation in 1961. The station formerly stood on the corner of Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, near where the fire station is now.

Some of the riders were arrested in North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. In Anniston, Ala., a mob of Ku Klux Klan members slashed the bus’s tires as it attempted to leave the terminal, and later threw a firebomb at it.

UMW students and staff and community members visited the field where the bombing occurred last fall, as part of a trip recreating the journey of the Freedom Riders.

“To our surprise, there was no marker out there. No historical marker saying that right here, the original 13 Freedom Riders were fire-bombed,” said Chris Williams, assistant director of UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center, which organized the trip. “I was enraged and so were the students.”

Back home in Fredericksburg, Williams was still thinking about ways the story of the Freedom Riders and James Farmer could be told better—and that led to the idea of placing a highway marker at the site of the old bus station.

Williams, Devlin and Henry, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg, have started the process of applying for the marker from the state Department of Historical Resources. Read more.

Questers 1944 Visits UMW Historic Preservation Department

The local Questers 1944 chapter presented a generous donation to the Department of Historic Preservation. Professors Andréa Livi Smith and Christine Henry accepted the donation on behalf of the department.

The local Questers 1944 chapter presented a generous donation to the Department of Historic Preservation. Professors Andréa Livi Smith and Christine Henry accepted the donation on behalf of the department.

The Questers 1944 local chapter visited UMW on Wednesday, June 12 to make a donation to the Department of Historic Preservation. Questers members were given a tour of the HISP facilities and current projects before taking a trolley tour of downtown Fredericksburg.

Since 2010, Questers have supported UMW’s Historic Preservation Department and provided funds for equipment needed for preservation. Thanks to the group’s generous donations, the department has purchased mat cutters for museum exhibits, measuring poles, digital cameras and tents for use on archaeological digs to protect students from the elements.

The local Questers 1944 chapter visited UMW's Department of Historic Preservation this week. Here, two members of the group examine a Civil War ordnance that was found by UMW HISP students at Sherwood Forest plantation.

The local Questers 1944 chapter visited UMW’s Department of Historic Preservation this week. Here, two members of the group examine a Civil War ordnance that was found by UMW HISP students at Sherwood Forest plantation.

According to the group’s website, “With a strong desire to see that the best of American heritage is preserved for future generations, Questers seek to educate by research and study of antiques and to donate funds to the preservation and restoration of artifacts, existing memorials, historic buildings, landmarks and educational purposes.” To learn more about the Questers, visit https://www.questers1944.org.

The HISP Department thanks the Questers for their continued generous donations!

Henry and McMillan Present on Teaching Historic Sites

Assistant Professor Christine Henry

Assistant Professor Christine Henry

Lauren McMillan

Assistant Professor Lauren McMillan

Christine Henry and Lauren McMillan, assistant professors of Historic Preservation, presented at the Virginia Consortium of Early Americanists on January 26th. They both served on the Designing Courses That Focus on Historic Sites panel. ​

Video Features UMW, Downtown Partnership

Fredericksburg’s Main Street businesses are partnering with the University of Mary Washington’s programs to grow business and engage students in community life.

This Virginia illustration of partnerships, featuring Christine Henry, a professor of historic preservation, is part of the Finding Main Street toolkit for Dar Williams’ book What I Found In a Thousand Towns.