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.
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.
"Fredericksburg; may it increase and its commerce flourish." --Toast by George Washington, 1784
Fredericksburg-area residents and visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Washington and Lincoln. Both presidents were entertained lavishly across the river at Chatham estate, but under very different circumstances.
To Washington, this small town of Fredericksburg was his childhood home, populated by many friends and relatives. His sojourns here are noted in his diary with a pleasant familiarity. Lincoln's view of Fredericksburg could hardly be of greater contrast, for Fredericksburg was a Union-occupied town, and although the president was certainly welcomed by his own men, he was not welcomed by Confederate townspeople. In the chill of that December, Fredericksburg would become the site of one of the Union's worst defeats.
Set in small fishing village in Haiti, Claire of the Sea Light weaves its net of interlocked stories from loss, love, and hope.
Like most small towns, Ville Rose has wealthy people who believe themselves to be important and others who just scrape by, barely making a living. Nozias the fisherman loves his little daughter Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light. But they are so very poor and his job is so dangerous that he worries what will happen to her if one day he does not return.
Like martial arts, magic, and high school heartbreak? Amanda Sun’s Ink has got you covered.
It’s not easy moving to Japan, and Katie Greene was having an especially rotten day. She forgot to change from her school slippers—again! and ended up barging into a huge break-up scene between moody, gorgeous kendo captain Yuu Tomohiro and his leggy, book-smart girlfriend of the glittery nails.
Looking for a book to share on a frosty day? Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Winter Walk is a lovely and informative stroll through nature’s quiet season. Grammy leads the children to all sorts of interesting discoveries. “Why is this tree green, Grammy, when others are brown?”
From the perspective of learning, this book is just right for young ones, and its design allows different ages to enjoy it. The figures of the people are only sketched, almost fading into the white backdrop as they make snow angels, fill a bird feeder, and have a snowball fight. But the images of what they notice and talk about are incredibly vivid: a cardinal, a snowshoe hare, a chickadee, a fox… and a gleaming icicle.
Jamie Ford’s Songs of Willow Frost is a story of love and perseverance set in Depression-era Seattle.
Ancient cities grew up around rivers, for the rivers were the source of life for all the people and animals who lived there. The waters of the Nile were no different. They flooded every year, making the soil rich for growing crops.
In time, a civilization arose by the Nile whose wonders can still be seen today. From the Valley of the Kings to the great pyramids and the Sphinx, the almighty kings of Egypt left monuments to celebrate their glory for eternity.
You needn't take a boat, an airplane, or even a camel to discover this ancient place. You can discover lots about Egypt on the Web and in the library. Unearth the Nile's secrets with our Ancient Egypt Book List to guide you.
Cat Winters’ In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a supernatural romance set in the real and not-too-distant past when people were dying by the millions from the flu epidemic. Everybody hopes to connect with their dead loved ones, and con artist “psychics” are lined up, ready to serve.
Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black didn’t believe in such nonsense. When a “spirit photographer” uses her image with that of ghost who seems to be kneeling at her feet, she is outraged—until the ghost of her dead sweetheart comes to visit her.