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UNTOLD STORIES 2019: “Looked for in the Hour of Danger – but Trampled Underfoot in the Time of Peace”
DATEFebruary 22 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm $10.00
Black History Month Special Event
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB) is co-sponsoring a Black History Month event on February 22 (rain date, March 1) composed of four vignettes in several churches in old town Fredericksburg. Each vignette will depict a scene portraying African American involvement in one of four major wars, from the Revolutionary War to World War II (WWII). The history of the nation’s response to their service is conflicted!
From the outset, African Americans performed with honor, and many died in service to their country. They fought on both sides during the Revolutionary War with a promise of freedom from slavery after the conflict ended. During the Civil War, nearly 180,000 blacks served in the Union Army and Navy. Twice that number (350,000) joined the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I, and over 700 African Americans died in the European and Pacific theaters during World War II. Many of these veterans were awarded medals for courage.
Yet their brave service and sacrifices, both during wartime and after they returned home, were often not recognized. In wartime, African American participation was usually marked by prejudice and the segregation of races. After hostilities ended, they returned home to a continuation of Jim Crow opposition and enmity. It wasn’t until President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 in 1948 that the Armed Forces were officially integrated. Even after that, resistance persisted.
Next month, there will be an opportunity to experience some of this history “first hand”. Each vignette will have local actors portraying scenes based on real people and their service before and after a particular war. Included will be a look at the relationship between George Washington and Phillis Wheatley, the first U.S. female African American poet; a view of the “lost” Camp Casey near the present day Pentagon that served as a training ground for the all-black 23rd U.S. Colored Infantry; a moment in a foxhole in France with Dr. Urbane Bass, a Fredericksburg physician who gave his life for his country; and finally, a discussion with a local resident who served with the Navy during WWII.
This is FoWB’s 2nd annual Black History Month Untold Stories event and is co-sponsored by the John J Wright Educational and Cultural Center and the churches in Fredericksburg. To attend, visit www.FoWB.org; a $10 donation is your entry fee. For more information, contact Dick Rankin at 972-2862 or Barry Thompson at 972-3757.