By Ruth Fitzgerald*
Blacks first inhabited Virginia in 1619. They came to the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley long before Fredericksburg was officially founded in 1728.
In colonial times, Fredericksburg and Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, were important centers of trade. The towns were considered the gateway to the mountains and the way west, and they also served as major seaports.
By the Spotsylvania Department of Tourism
From The Start ...
Blacks first arrived in isolated and sparsely populated Spotsylvania County along with white settlers in the early 1700's. Through the years before the Civil War, as slaves and occasionally as free men and women, they were an important force in area development. Occupations included labor as farm and plantation workers, as domestic servants, and as artisans, such as blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, and fine needleworkers. They also worked in the iron industries, mining, construction, shipping on the Rappahannock River, and in their own businesses.
By the first half of the 19th century, Spotsylvania County's population reached about 11,000, over half of whom were black.
Alex Haley's award winning novel, Roots, cast his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, as a slave of a Spotsylvania family.
From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
- Black Businesses and Services, Rappahannock Area compiled by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Xi Upsilon Omega chapter.
- Copyright 1997.
This directory was printed in the main body of The Free Lance newspaper.
The Free Lance.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1885.
[Entered at the Post-Office at Fredericksburg, Va., as second-class matter.]
Our Business Directory is as complete as we can make it for the present. It shows the organization of the city, the courts, the churches partially, the several societies, together with the date of their meetings, and also our active business men, individually, as firms.
The Library of Virginia, with support from Capital One, is pleased to honor eight distinguished Virginians as African American Trailblazers for their contributions to the state and nation. Through education, advocacy, entertainment, or armed rebellion, these individuals demonstrate how African Americans have actively campaigned for better lives for themselves and their people.
The honorees are Dangerfield Newby, Evelyn Butts, Amaza Meredith, Claudia Whitworth, Oliver White Hill, John Cephas, Edna Lewis, and Leland Melvin. Find out more about each trailblazer by visiting the Library of Virginia web site.
October 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.
Mildred Taylor writes from the experiences of her own life and the tales told by her loving relatives. Her stories have won many awards including the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. Mildred was born in Mississippi on September 14, 1943. The hatred and prejudice all around made her family decide to move north when she was just a few weeks old. In the North, there was less prejudice and better opportunities for the Taylor family.
Julius Lester came of age during the fight for civil rights for black Americans. In 1960, he graduated from Fiske College and became involved with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee which organized student protests in communities across the nation.
Andrea Davis Pinkney's (September 25, 1963 -- ) books are full of the rhythms of the African-American community. Stroll down memory lane with Scat Cat Monroe as he follows the rise of Ella Fitzgerald from the small-town girl who liked to sing and dance on street corners to wowing the crowd at the Apollo Theatre when she was only seventeen, dressed in work boots and hand-me-downs.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald was born December 28, 1927 in Baltimore. Her family was filled with successful, professional people who formed a loving and uplifting environment for Elizabeth. She had a great childhood filled with wonderful memories of taking The Train to Lulu's with only her sister for company to see her relatives further south.