Where the Past Is Present and the Arts Are Alive

Buckner’s Seafood Lunch and Friendly Inn Barber Pole

“Buckner’s Seafood Lunch dishes,” ca. 1940s-1950s

Gift of Ruth Coder Fitzgerald


“Barber Pole,” ca. 1940s-1950s

Gift of Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.

These objects represent the thriving African American community in Fredericksburg during the mid-1900s.  Despite the challenges posed by segregation, the community still supported a number of businesses.   Among these was Buckner’s Seafood Lunch at 1008 Sophia St.  Matthew Buckner, an African American resident of Gloucester County, was the proprietor for over 30 years.  His restaurant—and his skill as a seafood chef—was a fixture in the summer for both the African American and white communities.  According to his 1956 obituary, one of his most loyal customers was the former mayor and editor of the Free-Lance Star, J.P. Rowe, Jr.  The other object highlighted here, the barbershop pole, was posted at the Friendly Inn, in the historically African American residential district of Mayfield in Fredericksburg.


Fitzgerald, Ruth Coder. A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania, Virginia. Fredericksburg, VA: Unicorn, 1979.

Matthew Buckner obituary. Free-Lance Star, June 25, 1956.