Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.
Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.
In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.
Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
London Below is a dangerous, magical place. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Scotsman Richard Mayhew had just settled in with the upwardly-mobile routines of London Above. He had an office job that might be going places and a stunning if toffee-nosed girlfriend who was perhaps rather too keen on gallery-hopping for his taste. His lovely Jessica had plans for Richard’s life that did not include helping the bloody and broken young lady who lay across their path.
I know what you’re thinking, wrong holiday, but if your winter vacation time is anything like mine you will be on the open road as much as you’ll be at home. Our family will while away the traffic by listening to audiobooks. This past year I’ve started listening more regularly. It’s been a great way to increase the number of books I “read” and makes my short commute go even more quickly. Here are some of my favorite audios that promise to entrance a car full of family no matter how long the journey.
Princesses do not run. They also don’t hide their frilly, pink dresses in a broom closet, slide down secret chutes, or jump over castle walls. And princesses definitely do not wear black. But Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess… she’s a monster-fighting superhero in disguise, The Princess in Black!
In her first novel, The Murder Farm, Andrea Maria Schenkel presents a fresh, new twist to the mystery genre.
City of Women, by David R. Gillham, is set in 1943, Berlin, which has indeed become a city of women as most of the men have gone off to fight in World War II.
Have a favorite eatery in Fredericksburg? The library has paired book recommendations with local eateries for your dining and reading pleasure. Headed to Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe? Take along a copy of Chocolat, by Joanne Harris. Enjoy a break at Capital Ale House, and read The Bartender’s Tale, by Ivan Doig. Meeting the significant other at Bistro Bethem? If he’s late, whip out your copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated to while away the time.
It’s not her fault they call her Bloody Jack. Well, not exactly, though I suppose in her way she earned it. ‘Twasn’t always like that, though. She came from a nice if poor family in London, Mary did, before the pestilence came and took their lives, and horrible Muck came with his wheelbarrow for their bodies to give to the doctors to cut up. Set out on the curb, crying as a small girl will, old Muck tried to cheer Mary by assuring he’d be back for her before too long.