National Park Service & the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum to Host a Public Forum Featuring the Seven Women Who Desegregated Spotsylvania County Schools in 1963:
“The Walls Come Down: A Public Conversation”
Saturday October 13, Noon, at the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum
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).
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a group of women who helped change the world just a bit,” said Roger Braxton, member of the Board of Directors of the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum. “We will get a chance to explore what some of those who made history now think of their experience, and what lessons we can all learn from it. The event is a celebration of courage, determination, and accomplishment.”
The forum will take place in the auditorium of the historic John J. Wright School. 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.
The event and exhibit are free. The John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum is located at 7565 Courthouse Rd, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22551.
The John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum is located in the former John J. Wright Consolidated School in Spotsylvania County. Beyond the museum, John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center serves as Spotsylvania County’s center for Alternative Education and other programs. Approximately 200 students attend the school. Learn more at www.jjwmuseum.org.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve nationally significant history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park encompasses the sites of four major Civil War battles and more than a dozen historic structures. The park helps visitors explore the evolving nature of the American Civil War and its legacy in the United States and the world. Learn more at www.nps.gov/frsp.