October 28, 2020

Honor James Farmer and Follow the Freedom Rides with UMW

UMW faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and neighbors are invited to join our students as they celebrate the legacy of Dr. James L. Farmer, Jr., on the Freedom Rides Tour, a social justice trip commemorating Farmer’s signature movement to enforce the desegregation of interstate travel.

The alumni/community bus will caravan with the student bus and follow the exact route of the Freedom Riders. Stops will include some of the same places the Freedom Riders stopped–whether to speak with other activists at Bennett College in North Carolina, to strategize for next steps in Georgia, or just to have a safe place to sleep for the night. Along the way, we will visit the International Civil Rights Museum in North Carolina, the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum in Alabama, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the Atlanta University Center, both in Georgia.

Learn more about the sites, history, and experiences of the Freedom Rides and other significant landmarks and trailblazers of the Civil Rights movement. See the spot where the Freedom Riders were attacked by the KKK. Visit Martin Luther King, Jr’s birth home. It promises to be a meaningful and impactful journey. We will be joined on the trip by Dr. Erin Devlin, assistant professor of history and American studies, and Dr. Marion Sanford, director of multicultural affairs at the James Farmer Multicultural Center, who will add commentary and context to the trip.

We hope you’ll get on the bus!

Saturday, Oct. 12-Tuesday, Oct. 15
Departing from and returning to UMW’s Fredericksburg Campus

This event is being coordinated by UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center and the office of the Vice-President for Equity and Access in conjunction with UMW’s 2020 celebration of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Farmer’s birth.

Dr. Farmer was a dedicated civil rights activist, educator and UMW professor, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He co-founded one of the most important civil rights organizations of the 20th century, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Dr. Farmer personified UMW’s founding and continuing commitment to be a force for positive change, educating citizens who are ready and eager to address our society’s greatest challenges.


How the National Park Service grappled with segregation during the 20th century (National Parks Traveler)

Devlin Comments on Segregation in National Parks

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Erin Devlin, assistant professor of history and American studies, was interviewed recently on the National Parks Traveler podcast. She discussed her research into sites in national parks in Virginia that were associated with segregation during the first half of the 20th century. She initially looked at all of the parks in Virginia before 1964, and then focused specifically on six case study parks, including Shenandoah National Park, Colonial National Park in Tidewater, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Parks, Prince William Forest Park, and George Washington National Birthplace Monument. “Any park that was established before 1945, you should presume that the facilities there were segregated,” she said. “This is a history we can find imprinted across the Parks Service landscape.”

Listen here. 

National Parks Traveler Episode 26: Segregation In the Parks, and Winter in Everglades (National Parks Traveler)

Devlin’s National Parks Project Highlighted in The Free Lance-Star

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin’s collaboration with the National Park Service was the focus of an article in The Free Lance-Star. Devlin is working with NPS to develop a historic resource study that will explore the practice of racial segregation in national parks throughout Virginia during the first half of the 20th century. According to the article, “NPS has installed a wayside exhibit outside the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center on the history of segregation at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.”

Read more. 

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Presents National Park Service Centennial Speaker Series (fredericksburg.today)