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The City of Fredericksburg’s new Civil Rights Trail was recognized as “The Shining Example Partnership” for effective partnerships within the tourism industry by the Southeast Tourism Society on October 3rd in Jackson, MS.
The Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail, named “Freedom, a Work in Progress,” was created in partnership by the City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington, with significant input by Fredericksburg residents. Professors, staff, students, local historians and the Black community worked for two and a half years to draw together the stories of Fredericksburg-area people and places that helped shape Fredericksburg’s Civil Rights narrative. “The unique partnership between our local government, the University, and the Fredericksburg residents is what brought these historic sites to life, and it truly is created by the community for the community,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw.
Unveiled to the public in February 2023, the three-mile walking trail winds through parts of historic downtown and UMW campus as it guides participants through post-Civil War history. It features Virginia historical markers – one at the first stop on the 1961 Freedom Rides journey that challenged segregation of interstate travel. It chronicles court rulings and protests from the Jim Crow era to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Each year leaders in tourism are chosen by a selection committee to receive these prestigious awards for their accomplishments in tourism marketing, revenue growth and individual contributions to the industry. Thirteen awards were presented in 12 categories, including the Chairman’s Award and the Dorothy Hardman “Spirit of STS” Award.
The first of its kind locally, the Fredericksburg Civil Rights Trail has already begun to draw visitors from across the nation. It brings to public consciousness the struggle for everyday freedoms, justice and equality that are inherent with being a Black American. It’s Fredericksburg’s history, but will resonate far beyond the borders of the city, which is known for the pivotal role it played in America’s greatest conflict, the Civil War. The trail is free and open to the public 365 days a year. Visitors will find information and trail maps at FXBG.com. For more information, please contact the Fredericksburg Visitor Center at (540) 373-1776.
About Southeast Tourism Society
The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) is a not-for-profit membership association dedicated to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the southeast region. The association’s mission is to empower a diverse network of tourism professionals through Education, Advocacy, Recognition, and Networking. Member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia.
Photo: Victoria Matthews, Tourism Sales Manager, attended the Conference in Jackson and accepted the award on behalf of Fredericksburg. She is pictured here (left) with Monica Smith (right), CMP, CASE, CDME President & CEO of Southeast Tourism Society.