February 26, 2024

City, UMW Announce Addition of Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail 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 […]

Williams Discusses Civil Rights Trail on WFVA Radio’s ‘Town Talk’

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Christopher Williams

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams and Victoria Matthews with Fredericksburg Tourism talked with B101.5’s Town Talk host, Ted Schubel, about the importance of new stories revealed by the Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail, ‘Freedom, A Work in Progress.’ Listen to the episode.

Williams Takes Regional Award for Work on Civil Rights Trail

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams was honored for his work – along with Victoria Matthews, Fredericksburg’s tourism sales manager – on the Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail.  Matthews accepted the regional Shining Example partnership award from the Southeast Tourism Society on behalf of the university and the city in Jackson, Mississippi, last month. The award was recognized in an article titled “UMW, City of Fredericksburg win regional award for Civil Rights Trail,” which appeared in The Free Lance-Star. Read more.

Williams’ Civil Rights Work Lauded in ‘The Free Lance-Star’

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams’ behind-the-scenes work with the City of Fredericksburg’s Victoria Matthews was lauded in an article titled “Fredericksburg unveils historic marker honoring John Washington,” which ran recently in The Free Lance-Star. “In February, the city and the University of Mary Washington introduced a Civil Rights Trail that has been years in the making,” the article says. Williams and Matthews have been the driving force behind the initiatives. Read more.

Williams Discusses Civil Rights Trail on WFVA Radio

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams (foreground) with Town Talk host Ted Schubel and the City of Fredericksburg's Victoria Matthews.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams (foreground) with ‘Town Talk’ host Ted Schubel and the City of Fredericksburg’s Victoria Matthews.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams joined Victoria Matthews with City of Fredericksburg Tourism on radio station WFVA’s Town Talk. The two spoke about the new Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail, which launched in Fredericksburg. The two-part trail includes stops marking significant milestones at the University of Mary Washington. Listen to the episode.

Williams Helps Unveil Fredericksburg, UMW Civil Rights Trail

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Christopher Williams appeared in several media mentions for his work with the City of Fredericksburg’s Victoria Matthews. The two spearheaded the City’s recently unveiled civil rights trail, “Freedom: A Work in Progress,” of which the University of Mary Washington was a partner. Williams’ media mentions in reference to the trail include:

Haunting mystery solved in desegregation of Fredericksburg school (WTOP)
Yet, 60 years later? “Nobody ever knew who he was,” marveled Chris Williams, assistant director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center at the University of Mary Washington. “There was no name in the newspaper when that picture was taken — it just said ‘a young Negro boy.’” The unveiling event for “Freedom, a Work in Progress” will take place at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center in Fredericksburg on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m.
https://wtop.com/virginia/2023/02/haunting-mystery-solved-in-desegregation-of-fredericksburg-school/

Fredericksburg to launch new civil rights trail (The Free Lance-Star)
The unveiling event for “Freedom, a Work in Progress” will take place at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center, 1119 Hanover St., at 2 p.m. This project was a collaboration between the city and the University of Mary Washington.
Civil Rights Trail to be unveiled Thursday (blog.fredericksburgva.com; WVTF; FXBG.com)
“Freedom, a Work in Progress” was spearheaded by two passionate individuals – one from the University of Mary Washington’s James Farmer Multicultural Center, one from Fredericksburg’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism – compelled to share a comprehensive story of the city’s civil rights past. The unveiling event for “Freedom, a Work in Progress” will take place at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center in Fredericksburg (1119 Hanover Street) at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. More information about the event is available on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/688630416340122/?ref=newsfeed, with a livestreamed planned for the event at 2 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/VisitFxbg.
Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail Unveiling Event (patch.com)
The City of Fredericksburg in partnership with the University of Mary Washington’s James Farmer Multicultural Center requests the pleasure of your company at the unveiling of The City of Fredericksburg’s Civil Rights Trail “Freedom, a Work in Progress.”
Fredericksburg Unveils New Civil Rights History Trail (NBC4 Washington)
The story aired on NBC News4 at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Fredericksburg Unveils New Civil Rights History Trail (Fox5 D.C.)
The story aired at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Fredericksburg, UMW unveil Civil Rights Trail (The Free Lance-Star)
The photograph ran in the paper, but for 60 years, the boy remained unidentified. The caption only described him as “a young Negro boy.” On Sept. 30, Chris Williams, assistant director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center at the University of Mary Washington, and Victoria Matthews, tourism sales manager for the City of Fredericksburg, were finally able to identify him as part of their research for the city’s Civil Rights Trail, which was officially unveiled Thursday during a ceremony at the university’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center.
Fredericksburg Opens Civil Rights Trail (NPR)
On an unseasonable warm February afternoon, a few hundred people gathered at the University of Mary Washington’s Jepson Alumni Center in Fredericksburg to celebrate the opening of the Civil Rights Trail: Freedom, A Work in Progress.
COMMENTARY: In a state turning back the clock on racial relations, Fredericksburg looks to the future (thelocalburg.substack.com)
That debate launched six years ago, however, was about much more than one artifact. In fact, it ignited a larger discussion about telling the full story of Fredericksburg history. And that led last week to the launch of the new two-part civil rights trail.
City and UMW unveil Civil Rights Trail (Fredericksburg Today)
During Black History Month and amid a flurry of fanfare, the City of Fredericksburg in partnership with the University of Mary Washington unveiled its civil rights trail: “Freedom, a Work in Progress.”
City of Fredericksburg and University of Mary Washington Unveil Civil Rights Trail (Virginia Chamber of Commerce)
“I can’t even begin to describe to you what a fantastic day this is for the City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington, and more importantly for our Black community,” said Chris Williams, assistant director of UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center. He and Victoria Matthews, tourism stadium and sales manager for the City of Fredericksburg, spearheaded the project.
City of Fredericksburg and University of Mary Washington Unveil Civil Rights Trail (Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce)
“I can’t even begin to describe to you what a fantastic day this is for the City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington, and more importantly for our Black community,” said Chris Williams, assistant director of UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center. He and Victoria Matthews, tourism stadium and sales manager for the City of Fredericksburg, spearheaded the project.

City of Fredericksburg, University of Mary Washington Unveil Civil Rights Trail

During Black History Month and amid a flurry of fanfare, the City of Fredericksburg in partnership with the University of Mary Washington unveiled its civil rights trail: “Freedom, a Work in Progress.” The nearly three-mile walking trail, with some stops a close drive, guides participants through post-Civil War history into the modern day, drawing together […]

Tears, Applause and Song Greet Freedom Rides Marker

The old bus terminal – with its segregated restrooms and waiting areas – is no longer there. In its place, a permanent historical marker to commemorate the first stop on the 1961 Freedom Rides was unveiled yesterday afternoon, the result of efforts by University of Mary Washington staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the […]

Williams, Devlin, Henry Work to Bring Freedom Rides Historic Marker to Fredericksburg

Chris Williams, Erin Devlin and Christine Henry with Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Delegate Joshua Cole and Vice Mayor Chuck Frye. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Chris Williams, Erin Devlin and Christine Henry with Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Delegate Joshua Cole and Vice Mayor Chuck Frye. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams, Associate Professor of History Erin Devlin and Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Christine Henry have worked with City of Fredericksburg officials to erect a historic marker at the site of the old bus station on Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, where the Freedom Riders first stopped 60 years ago in their quest to desegregate interstate travel.

This story has been featured by several local, regional and national media outlets.

Fredericksburg set to place marker honoring Freedom Riders’ first stop (The Free Lance-Star)

Freedom Riders marker in Fredericksburg, Va., tells the ‘untold story’ (The Washington Post)

Historical marker to be erected in Fredericksburg on 60th anniversary of Freedom Rides (WJLA)

UMW, Fredericksburg place temporary marker honoring Freedom Riders (The Free Lance-Star, The Culpeper Star-Exponent)

Freedom Riders marker in Fredericksburg, Virginia, tells the ‘untold story’ (The Philadelphia Tribune)

Fredericksburg Remembers the Freedom Rides’ First Stop (WVTF)

Marker Furthers UMW Mission on Freedom Rides’ 60th Anniversary

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Freedom Rides, a temporary historic marker was unveiled at the site of the former Fredericksburg bus station, where the Freedom Riders first stopped in 1961. The marker is the result of efforts by UMW staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Freedom Rides, a temporary historic marker was unveiled at the site of the former Fredericksburg bus station, where the Freedom Riders first stopped in 1961. The marker is the result of efforts by UMW staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Sixty years ago today, 13 men and women – seven Black and six white – departed Washington, D.C., on Greyhound and Trailways buses. Led by civil rights icon James L. Farmer Jr., these Freedom Riders embarked on a quest to desegregate interstate travel.

Their first stop? Fredericksburg, Virginia. The riders visited the bus station terminal and lunch counter, once located at the corner of Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, where the fire station stands today.

The bus depot was torn down years ago, but this afternoon, a historical marker was erected in its place, thanks to the tireless work of University of Mary Washington staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Their efforts are part of a greater campaign to share the history of the region’s Black residents, as well as UMW’s commitment to keep alive the legacy of the Freedom Riders and Dr. Farmer. Read more.