African American Heritage Trail (AAHT) Comes to Life for A Day in History – Save The Date
By Denise Benedetto August 23, 2018
Spotsylvania, Virginia – The John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum is pleased to announce A Colorful Journey Through Hallowed Ground Living Heritage Bus Tour on Saturday, October 20, 2018. The three-hour tour transports travelers along the African American Heritage Trail (AAHT) and engages through multimedia, tour guides, interpretive performers, hands on activity and exhibits. The interactive tour focuses on significant historical and cultural assets within Spotsylvania, County from its 1720 founding to present day; attributed to the African American Experience. The Historic event kicks off at 9:00 am at the John J. Wright Museum located at 7565 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22551.
The AAHT was developed under a Preserve America Grant from the National Park Service in March 2010. An archaeological survey under the grant provide support of contributions by Americans of African Descent to Spotsylvania’s heritage and provide the material content for the county’s newly developed African American Heritage Driving Trail (AAHT). The Heritage Trail which opened to the public in 2015 and its digital application encourage visitors to explore, discover and experience historic African American events, people and places along The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway.
Spotsylvania County Virginia is located at the midpoint between Washington, DC and the Commonwealth’s Capital of Richmond and halfway between Canada and the state of Florida with the county listed as one the fastest growing counties in the U.S and in the Commonwealth. It is the birthplace of renown author Alex Haley’s ancestral “Roots,” Buffalo Soldier Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Benjamin Brown, and home of the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum.
A Colourful Journey Through Hallowed Ground Living Heritage Bus Tour sponsored by the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum (JJW) is in keeping with the Museum’s Mission to celebrate Spotsylvania through eclectic programming, oral history archival and collaborations that share and facilitate learning about the culture and civic life of the county’s African American citizens; and demonstrate how these interactions contribute to the richness of Spotsylvania County’s growth and development.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of our glorious Constitution and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. This Amendment shapes almost every spectrum of life today from immigration, equality, voter rights, free speech to federal power. It established birthright citizenship, required due process, and equal protection of the law. Often referred to as one of the “Civil War Amendments” the amendment reinvented freedom. In recognition of the monumental anniversary, The Colourful Journey Through Hallowed Ground Living Heritage Bus Tour celebrates Spotsylvania County inhabitants of African Descent, their courageous pathway to citizenship, their resilience and the direct benefit of their acts to the generations that follow.
Denise Benedetto, the tour Planning Committee Chair and John J. Wright Board of Director shares, “The community project embraces regional history through a different perspective and interprets the trail in a twenty-first century rebranding style.” The result, an event that presents the heroic unyielding forge to freedom in a format that is experienced through exploration and discovery. The unveiling of the county’s rich African American history is accomplished through period dressed interpreters, vocal artist, historians, museum exhibits, dance and music. All attendees are encouraged to register for inclusion in the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum’s Oral History Project.
Join us for a Colourful Journey along Spotsylvania’s African American Heritage Trail 9:00 am Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the John J. Wright Museum located at 7565 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22551. One full day of experiencing real-life stories and historic sites of Survival, Resilience, Hope and Perseverance in one of Virginia’s Historic African-American communities.
For more information or complete listing of events please contact Denise Benedetto (540) 361-0013.
The Colourful Journey was conceived by the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum and is a cooperative effort of the National Park Service, Spotsylvania County, Fredericksburg City, and Stafford County Tourism. Major funding for the program provided by Spotsylvania Tourism.
The Mission of the JJW Museum is to celebrate Spotsylvania by collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations to collect, archive, share and facilitate learning about the interactive history of education, cultures and civic life of the county’s African American citizens. In doing so, demonstrate how those interactions within the wider population contributed to the richness of Spotsylvania County’s development.
John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum features a permanent exhibit about the history of Spotsylvania education tracing the history of African-American education through the leadership of its 15 principals, from the first principal, John J. Wright in the mid-1920s, through integration and the last African American principal, Pitman C. Rock, to its closure as a traditional middle school in 2006 under the leadership of Chester Mummau.
The museum honors the legacy of the school and the man for whom it was named and serves to acknowledge the numerous contributions of both to the community. The museum shows the history of what was first the Spotsylvania Training School, also known as the “Snell Training School.