Where the Past Is Present… Where the Arts Are Alive

Here We Stand

These objects and photographs represent the many triumphs and achievements of local African American residents during the century-and-a-half since the Civil War and Emancipation.

joseph walker2

joseph walker

Life of Joseph Walker, ca. 1927-1930

Gift of Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Born in 1854, Joseph Walker was an area slave until 1865, at which point he entered into the workforce in Fredericksburg.  Ultimately he became the Sexton of St. George’s Church in 1878, a position which garnered him the highest respect and admiration from the community.  This book’s editor, Rev. John Lanier of St. George’s Church, called him Mr. Walker, “gentleman” and said that he was “glad to call him my friend.”  The front inscription reads: “From Joseph Walker to Mr. Conway…one of my last friends.”

walkergrant

Presidents of Walker-Grant photo, ca. 1950s

Gift of Gladys Todd

One of the earliest schools for black children in the area, the Walker-Grant School,  named after Joseph Walker and freeman and educator Jason Grant, integrated with Fredericksburg white high schools in the early 1960s.  This photograph, taken in the decade before desegregation, depicts several of the school’s presidents and their wives.

Reginald Lucas

Reginald Lucas photo, 1943

Gift of L. Reginald Lucas

Retired Marine Corps service member Reginald Lucas was one of the earliest African Americans to enlist after Truman’s 1942 Executive Order to desegregate the Corps.  Lucas enlisted in 1943 and served on American Samoa.  Despite racial tensions he experienced while in service, he said in a 2003 interview that “All of us were proud to be Marines…you never would have known that any of us were black, or white.”

Lawrence Davies

Rev. Lawrence Davies, 1976

File image

Another local resident who exemplified the triumphs of local African Americans is the Rev. Lawrence Davies.  He was pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church Old Site for over 50 year, a position of respect in the community.  In 1966, he became the first African American elected to City Council and was Mayor for 20 years until 1996.  March 4, 2012, was declared The Reverend Lawrence A. Davies Day, demonstrating the impact he has left on Fredericksburg.

Resources:

Byrd, Ted.  “The Life of Joseph Walker.” Free Lance-Star, February 28, 1991.

Evans, Larry.  “Across the racial barrier: Reginald Lucas recalls growing up in segregated Fredericksburg.” Free Lance-Star, February 22, 2003.

Telvock, Dan. “Rev. Lawrence Davies Leaves With a Flair.” Fredericksburg Patch, March 7, 2012. http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/rev-lawrence-davies-leaves-with-a-flair (accessed February 20, 2013).