Located at the corner of Wolfe and Princess Anne Streets, this panel shares a view of the 500 block of Princess Anne Street, where numerous African American-owned businesses were once located. Several businesses in this block were listed in the Green Book, a guidebook for African American travelers that showed where safe accommodations including restaurants, gas stations, and hotels could be found in a time when African American travelers were frequently met with intimidation and outright discrimination.
On May 4, 2021, the City celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides with a commemoration at our local site. Located on Princess Anne Street, this historical panel points visitors to the former location of Fredericksburg's bus depot, now the site of the fire station. On May 4, 1961, the Fredericksburg bus depot became the Freedom Riders' first stop at the start of a seven-month campaign to challenge the racial status quo in states throughout the American south.
In the late 18th century, John DeBaptiste, a free Black man, established a shipping wharf where Canal Street meets the Rappahannock River and eventually purchased the land as well. He was a successful entrepreneur who operated this business as well as the Falmouth Ferry (located closer to the site of the Chatham Bridge) in a time when no bridges crossed the river at Fredericksburg.