Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Slavery Museum: A donor wants some answers

Bob Ford visited the U.S. National Slavery Museum’s offices in Central Park about a year ago. He dropped off two items from his personal collection–Ford collects all kinds of antiques–because he wanted them to be part of a local museum seeking to tell the story of slavery.

"I wanted to see them stay here locally," he said, adding that he would not have donated the items to a museum as far away as even Richmond.

Now, as he reads about how the museum isn’t showing many signs of life, and how other localities are beginning to make plays for it, Ford said he’d like to know what his options are.

Ford donated an old iron that was heated in fire and then used on clothes, and an application to join the Ku Klux Klan that his aunt of Jacksonville, Fla., sent to his grandmother in the 1950s. His grandmother never joined, and the application has not been filled out, but he thought it would be an appropriate artifact to help the museum tell its story.

If a museum is not going to be built in Fredericksburg, which now seems unclear, he wants both items back.

Ford said he may have been given a small receipt when he made his donation, but he does not have any paperwork, like a deed of gift, with written conditions on what is to happen to his gifts if the museum is not built. He doesn’t even know where his gifts are.

"These are articles that I definitely had treasured enough to donate, and I would certainly like to have them back," he said. "I very well may consider taking legal action…but who do you take it against?"

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