Board of Directors

Rev. Gilbert Garcia

Board Chairman

John J. Wright Museum Board Chairman Rev. Gilbert Garcia is pastor of First New Hope Baptist Church located in the Partlow area of Spotsylvania. Garcia is a board charter member and has been a part of the JJWECCM through it’s entire five-year existence. Rev. Garcia attended John J. Wright Consolidated School for four years before entering Spotsylvania High in 1966 two Yeats prior to statewide integration as an eighth grader. In addition, his educational resume includes Concord College in Athens, WV, and Fredericksburg Bible Institute and Seminary.

While at Concord, Garcia was the first African American to pledge a fraternity; joining Alpha Sigma Phi National Fraternity and served two years as vice president. Rev. Garcia is a former volunteer with the Salvation Army, a former three-term president of the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union, and an active member of the 23rd Regiment USCT which is a partner of the JJWECCM. Rev. Garcia. Who lives in Caroline County with his sweetheart Regina, has pastored FNHBC for eleven years.

He believes that the current museum board of directors has the opportunity through policy, vision, and partnering, to establish and advance the JJWECCM for the future and that when the baton is passed, it will be done with pride.

Rosemary “Boxie” Mckinney

Board Member

I am a 3rd generation Spotsylvania native with a lifelong dedication to this community. This is evident in my return to my home after raising three daughters who also now call Virginia their home.  I lived in Brookline, Massachusetts for twenty years. My education included graduating from Wheelock College with a Masters Degree in Education. I taught third grade in the Brookline Ma. at Edward Devotion Elementary School for twelve years. I taught second grade at Smith Station Elementary in Spotsylvania County for Twenty years. I am presently a long -term substitute teacher in Spotsylvania County.

My three daughters are also educators. Kristen Mckinney Nash married to Don Nash is an Elementary School Principal. Pamela Hunt married to Lawrence Hunt is a Spanish Teacher and Breigh Lockhart married to Cedric Lockhart is a Science Major graduated from Virginia Tech. I am the grandmother of six wonderful grandchildren, Khole, Joshua, Matthew, Cooper, Camille Rose and Colton. They attend schools in the Northern Virginia Area and enjoy and excel at learning. My experience as an educator is a lifelong learner which transcend in my leadership role as a Board Member of the John J. Wright Museum.

My source of affiliation includes:

  1. Board Member of the John J. Wright Museum
  2. A member of Sylvannah Baptist Church
  3. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Soroity, Inc. Fredericksburg Area Alumnae Chapter

Constance Braxton

Board Member

Constance E. Braxton is a graduate of John J Wright Consolidated School (’58), and a retired elementary school principal. She is a graduate of Virginia State College (now University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Virginia. She began her career as a high school history and social studies teacher. Deciding she needed a change, she had the opportunity to teach at the elementary level. She fell in love with second graders and found her niche in working with young children. Her work in helping to develop the kindergarten program for the school system offered an opportunity to earn graduate credit which she used in pursuing a graduate degree. She was selected as a teacher assigned to open a new open-space school in the county. She moved from teaching to administration becoming an assistant principal for two years before being assigned as principal, a position she held for 23 years, including opening a new school before retiring in 2000 after 36 years as an educator. Constance is an avid reader. She enjoys biographies, history, historical fiction, poetry, children’s books and collects books by and about African Americans. She enjoys traveling and still has more places to visit on her bucket list.

Since early childhood, she has been active in her church (Sylvannah Baptist) currently serving as Financial Secretary and Program Coordinator as well as other as needed committees. She is a member and past president of the Fredericksburg Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; President of the John J Wright Alumni Association, Financial Secretary of the Spotsylvania County Afro-American Teachers Association. She is also an associate of the A. L. Bennett and Son Funeral Home, Inc. A native and resident of Spotsylvania County, Constance has a deep interest in preserving the history of African Americans in the county. She has been inspired to discover the stories/history of individuals and families of people she knew as a child as well as her own family’s history.

Constance has been involved with the museum since its inception. She was a member of the committee appointed by the school superintendent to determine future use of the John J Wright School building. She was also a member of the committee to develop the museum and worked closely with the curator, Ms. Terry Miller to collect documents and artifacts and provide historical context and integrity of exhibits. She had previously worked with Ms. Miller in researching the book, “African Americans in Spotsylvania County.”

Constance is a Charter member of the Museum Board of Directors, currently serving as Treasurer. As a product/recipient, she has a personal interest in preserving and sharing the history of African American education in Spotsylvania County and its impact from the early years through integration. Educated during the “separate but equal” era, students who left John J Wright were successful in varied professions, the military and support their families. It is vital that the stories and history of those who experienced this time period be documented, recorded and shared so that they are not lost. The museum recognizes the contributions of the founders who envisioned and pursued education for themselves and their children, the parents, teachers, principals – all who played a role in the history of Spotsylvania County. Her goal is to expand the resources of the museum to fulfill its mission to demonstrate how the history of all citizens, especially African Americans, contributed to the richness of Spotsylvania County. It is our responsibility to honor the past while focusing on the future.

Roger Braxton

Board Member

A native of Spotsylvania. His keen interest in local history comes honestly; much of his childhood was spent playing in the woods and fields that one time served as a major Civil War battleground. The trench lines still exist in the woods around the family properties and remain a reminder of the many lives lost. Also, the painful memories of growing up in a segregated society made him want to immortalize many unsung, local heroes.

He is a 1962 graduate of John J. Wright Consolidated that represented the first twelfth-grade class to graduated after 1933 School. He attended Howard University and has a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University. Roger is a retired Technology Coordinator from the Rappahannock Juvenile Center in Stafford, Virginia. As the author of “Historic Africans Americans of Spotsylvania County”, Roger was delighted by the opportunity to share in compiling and editing this photographic history on behalf of the many forgotten historic African Americans who helped build Spotsylvania County.

Roger is a veteran army officer. He was the awarded the Army Meritorious Service Medal, Rotary Wing Aviators Badge, and the Army Parachutists Badge. He is a graduate of Infantry Officer’s Advanced Course and the Army Command and General Staff College. Braxton is a Trustee at Sylvannah Baptist Church and an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. When not doing community service, Braxton finds time to volunteer at the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum where he was a Charter Member of the Board of Directors.

“I have the expectation that my efforts as a member of the Board of Directors will bring back fond memories and inspire the scholarly research that will forever document and preserve the history of African Americas in Spotsylvania County. My primary goal as a Board Member is to remain relevant and focused on recording “Our Story”. I strongly feel that we must accurately document our colorful history or it will cease to exist and will be lost forever.”

Patricia McCoy

Board Member

Patricia is the mother of three children and the grandmother of three grandsons. She has worked for the Department of Defense for more than twenty years and is currently a Budget Analyst for The Department of the Air Force, managing accounts totaling millions. She is a member of the American Society of Comptrollers, Quantico, VA., Black History Month Assoc., Georgetown Row Team, America Nurses Assoc., and Society for Women’s Health Research. Patricia is an entrepreneur of a small boutique called Trisha’s Boutique, which caters to family needs and wants. Her hobbies are cooking, gardening, reading, painting, and horseback riding. A child of military parents, she was born and reared in Spain up to age sixteen, later moving to Georgia. She has been a member of New Site since 2008 and is also serving as president of the Women’s Ministry and Assistance treasury.

Yvette Blake

Board Member

Born and raised in Newport News Va. Yvette is a retired military warrant officer, serving 27 years in the United States Army. Yvette’s family consists of a charming husband, handsome twin boys, a beautiful daughter and daughter-in-law plus two energetic grandsons. She presently works for the Department of Defense and owns a small business which provides a number of financial services. Additionally, Yvette is a licensed real estate agent associated with the CTI Real Estate firm. She holds an associate’s degree in Graphic Design, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management and a master’s in Organizational Management.

Yvette has had an interest in art, history, reading and culture for over 30 years. She has been a collector of miniatures for 10 years. She uses her miniature collection to design historical exhibits for the museum. Her newest interest is Civil War reenacting. Yvette is a member of the Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary and Social Club, the 23rd United States Colored Troops, the Woman of the American Civil War group and a board member of the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum.

Yvette joined the museum board in September 2014 and as a newly appointed board member has brought new creative ideas that relate to the museums community cultural and educational venue. Yvette’s roles at the museum are that of researcher and exhibitor related to the museum’s collection. Her research interests include local artist, African studies and military studies with an emphasis on the Civil War.

Yvette has organized or developed the following exhibits; “Soles of our Legacies” (2015), “Tea, Lace and Roses” (2014), “Trail to Freedom: Mini Me Gallery Exhibit” (2014), “Celebrating Spotsylvania through Art” (2014), “A Christmas to Remember” (2014), “Military African American Exhibit: Mini Me Gallery Exhibit” (2014), “Black History Month Young Art (2015) and the “African American Heritage Trail Highlights: Mini Me Gallery Exhibit (2015).

Denise Benedetto

Board Member

Clarissa Sanders

Board Member

Rene Beverly

Board Member

Luigi Benedetto

Board Member