August 4, 2021

Thaden, Devlin Interviewed in The Free Lance-Star on LGBTQ Oral History Project

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden ’02 and Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin were interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about Mary Washington’s LGBTQ Alumni Oral History Project. UMW Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives just launched the oral history collection, made up of recorded interviews and transcripts by students in Devlin’s oral history seminar in 2019.

When Mark Thaden first arrived at the University of Mary Washington in the late 1990s, the campus LGBTQ group met quietly, behind closed doors, in an upstairs room of the campus center.

“It was a social group, but it was very much about support,” said Thaden, a 2002 graduate of UMW who is now the university’s executive director of alumni relations.

Thaden said he was not out when he came to UMW from rural Maryland and a small, Catholic high school. At the club carnival early his freshman year, he was excited to see that there was an LGBTQ campus group, but he was too nervous at first to approach members.

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Luckily, a friend signed him up to receive the group’s emails and the meetings became formative in his journey toward self-acceptance.

“That’s where I started feeling more comfortable, being with people who were comfortable with themselves,” Thaden said. “That’s where I started feeling like it was OK.”

Thaden’s memories and those of two dozen other LGBTQ alumni were recorded and transcribed in 2019 by students in Associate Professor Erin Devlin’s Oral History seminar. Read more.

Wearing Down the Appalachian Trail (With Good Reason)

Devlin’s With Good Reason Interview Re-Aired

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin’s interview on With Good Reason re-airs this week, June 25 through July 1, as part of the episode, “Wearing Down the Appalachian Trail.”  With Good Reason airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

Camping, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors are American pastimes. But for African Americans, gathering in public spaces has long been fraught. Erin Devlin discusses the racism that was built into America’s national parks. Listen here.

LGBTQ Oral History Project Highlights Alumni Pride

Recruited to play field hockey at the University of Mary Washington, Chrissy Bowdren ’11, then a freshman, left practice to get her picture taken for her EagleOne card. Sweating in her uniform, she saw a familiar face in line. She teased her new teammate, Nicole, for being freshly showered and made up, but it was […]

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.

Marker Furthers UMW Mission on Freedom Rides’ 60th Anniversary

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 […]

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

UMW, City of Fredericksburg partner in effort to more accurately tell the local Civil Rights story (The Free Lance-Star)

Historian David Marsich to Present for St. George’s 300th Anniversary Lecture Series (Fredericksburg Today)