In the fall of 1963, seven African-American girls left the all-African-American John J. Wright Consolidated School to enroll at Robert E. Lee Elementary School and Spotsylvania High School. Their act started a process of desegregation in Spotsylvania County that would take five years to complete. On October 13, 2018, those women will come together again for the first time in a public forum to reflect on their experiences 55 years ago—what it meant for their lives and that of the schools, community, and nation.
The National Park Service and the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum are pleased to host this public conversation about a pivotal period in the region’s history. It’s an unmatched opportunity for the public to meet and engage this group of women--not only to understand the realities of desegregation in Spotsylvania County, but the impact of the event on each of these women (all who went on to professional careers).
John Hennessy, Chief Historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will moderate. The public forum is a companion to an exhibit now on display at John J. Wright: “The Walls Come Down: Desegregation in the Fredericksburg Region.” The exhibit is a collaborative effort of the National Park Service, local educators, and several of those who participated in the desegregation efforts of the early 1960s. The exhibit will remain at the Museum through the fall, and then will be made available to travel through local middle and high schools, as well as other community organizations that wish to host it.