Fredericksburg Features

Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.

RSS feed of this blog

History Calendar

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

MORE: Read more Stafford County news

Andrew Franklin White-Cleary of Dale City, Va., looks at the words inscribed at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. stood and delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. (The Associated Press)

For the week of Jan. 17, 2012:


Keynote lecture, Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18. Activist, social critic and scholar Marc Lamont Hill, an associate professor at Columbia University, will deliver a lecture, “Building Toward the Dream: Progress in the Age of Obama,” addressing political activism and change in today’s society. Sponsored by the Office of the President at the University of Mary Washington. At George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Free.; 540/654-1044.

Film, “King: Man of Peace in a Time of War.” 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19. Room 411, Lee Hall, University of Mary Washington. Viewing of the 2007 documentary about King, followed by discussion. Sponsored by Omicron Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Free.; 540/654-1044.

“Union Church; Past, Present, and Future.” 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19. Stafford County Historical Society hosts Union Church Trustees chairwoman Lenetta Schools and local historian and author Jerrilynn Eby, who will speak on the history of Falmouth’s Union Church, built in 1819 on the site of two other churches, built in 1733 and 1760. Area residents are working to stabilize the church’s narthex, all that remains of the structure after a 1950 storm. The site is listed on the state and national registers of historic places. Refreshments will be served. Stafford Administration Center, U.S. 1 and Stafford Courthouse Road.; 540/373-6455.

Robert E. Lee’s birthday at Stratford Hall. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19. Mark the 205th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s birth with a visit to his birthplace, Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County. Admission to the historic site and self-guided tours of the Great House and grounds are free that day. Have some cake and listen to the music of Evergreen Shade in the Visitor Center. Visitor Center open 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Gift Shop 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Self-guided tours of the Great House from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 804/493-8038.

Documentary double feature. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19, Mount Pony Theater, Culpeper. “Twist” (Triton Pictures, 1992) features footage of variations on the dance “The Twist,” including interviews with early rock ’n’ rollers Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Hank Ballard and Joey Dee. “Therimin: An Electric Odyssey” (Orion Classics, 1994) is a documentary about the electronic synthesizer. Leon Theremin, Robert Moog and Brian Wilson are interviewed. Reservations strongly encouraged; Call 540/827-1079, ext. 79994, (202/707-9994) no earlier than one week prior to the screening; reservation line is open 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday. In case of inclement weather, check the line no sooner than three hours before showtime to see if the movie has been canceled. National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, Library of Congress, Packard Campus, 19053 Mount Pony Road, Culpeper.

“The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.” (Embassy Pictures, 1982). 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20, Mount Pony Theater, Culpeper. Western based on a 1901 incident in Gonzales, Texas, revolving around a stolen horse, mistaken identity and a killing that became the basis for the folk song “Gregorio Cortez.”

“Performance” (Warner Bros., 1970). 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Mount Pony Theater, Culpeper. Crime drama with songs, about a wounded mobster who holes up in a reclusive rock star’s decaying mansion. With James Fox and Mick Jagger. Rated R.

Curator’s chat: Female Marine fliers. 1–2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Learn about the history of women Marines in aviation. National Museum of the Marine Corps, 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle. Free.; 703/784-6116.

Hartwood Church Cavalry Raid: The Civil War Comes to Stafford. 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 23. The first program in the 2012 Sesquicentennial Lecture Series being presented by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Stafford historians and authors Jane and Al Conner. Free.; 540/899-1703. England Run Branch, 806 Lyons Blvd., Stafford.

Kurt Vonnegut: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24. Charles J. Shields, author of the Vonnegut biography “And So It Goes” and associate director of the University of Mary Washington’s Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series, will speak at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at UMW. Free;; 540/654-1065.

“East of the Mason–Dixon Line: Delaware in the Civil War.” Wednesday, Jan. 25. Delaware native Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, addresses the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg on his native state, whose position was in question as Southern states seceded. At University of Mary Washington’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center, 1119 Hanover St. Bar opens 5:45 p.m., social 6 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m. Reservations required; 540/361-2105. Men should wear coats and ties; equivalent attire for ladies.

Lafayette: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31. Journalist and historian Marc Leepson, author of “Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership From the Idealist General,” will speak in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington. Free;; 540/654-1065.

Noah Webster: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2. Joshua Kendall, author of “The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture,” will speak in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Kendall is an associate fellow at Yale’s Trumbull College. Free;;


Aaron Burr: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 7. David O. Stewart, author of “American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America,” will speak in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Free;; 540/654-1065.

Columbus: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9. Laurence Bergreen, author of “Columbus: The Four Voyages,” will speak in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Free;; 540/654-1065.

Battlefield Preservation Weekend. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11–12. Have fun and help the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, a Fredericksburg-based 501c3 nonprofit, preserve the area’s Civil War battlefields. On Saturday, Feb. 11, see film classics in style at Muvico Village 12 at Spotsylvania Towne Centre. Noon–4 p.m., “Gone With the Wind”; 4:30–6:30 p.m., “Glory”; 7–11 p.m., “Gone With the Wind.” $5 cash donation. On Sunday, Feb. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m., it’s “Bowling for Battlefields” at Splitsville. The ticketed event includes open bowling, heavy appetizers and soft drinks. $20 per person; under 12, free. All proceeds benefit CVBT. “Bowling for Battlefields” sponsorships (including lane banners and weekend tickets) are available for $500. Tickets and details, call 540/374-0900, visit or email

Richard and Mildred Loving: The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. Panel discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Loving vs. Virginia, and a showing of the HBO-produced documentary on the Caroline County couple, in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. The panelists will be Bernard Cohen, one of two lawyers who argued the case before the high court, and Peggy Fortune, the Lovings’ daughter. Free;; 540/654-1065.

Second Saturdays at the Museum. 1–3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center kicks off the program’s second season with its annual tea party. Boys and girls are urged to invite an adult to join them. Space is limited. Reservations required: or 540/371-3037 ext. 140. $15, nonmembers; $12, members. Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, 1001 Princess Anne St. Regular admission. Second Saturday themes change monthly. Visit or call 540/371-3037.

“Who Am I?” Cultural Club of the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center. Noon Saturday, Feb. 11. Orate a poem, read a story or talk about a movie that addresses the meeting’s theme. Refreshments. All are welcome. 7565 Courthouse Road;; 540/582-7583, ext. 5545.

George Washington’s 280th Birthday Celebration. Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Celebrate the birthday of America’s first president with games, crafts, first-person interpreters, a theater performance, cake, more at Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm. Adults $5, children (under age 17) free. Except for Washington’s birthday and Presidents Day, Ferry Farm is closed for the season until March 1. It’s about 1 mile east of Fredericksburg on State Route 3 in southern Stafford County, at 268 Kings Highway.

“Young George Washington and the Buried Past.” Monday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Presidents Day, learn how archaeologists are revealing the secrets of the Washington family at Ferry Farm. There will also be crafts, games, the Object Whisperer, simulated archaeological digs, and the Magnificent Materialist, Teller of Artifact Fortunes. Free admission for all ages. 268 Kings Highway, Stafford.

“Are Your Hands Idle?” Special exhibit at John J. Wright Museum near Spotsylvania Courthouse explores work and leisure, past and present, especially in context of difficult economic times. Open 10 a.m.–3 p.m Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 7565 Courthouse Road; jjwmuseum .org; 540/582-7583, ext. 5545. Free.

Caroline Museum and Cultural Center. New facility has exhibits on county history, including Civil War stories and quilts with secret messages for escaping slaves. Free. Courthouse complex, 121 North Main St., downtown Bowling Green. 804/633-3490;


Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade. Noon, Thursday, Jan. 26. Banner Lecture Series, Virginia Historical Society. Maurie D. McInnis, author of the new book, “Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade,” uses paintings of British artist Eyre Crowe to explore the trade in Richmond, Charleston, New Orleans. In 1853, Crowe visited an auction in Richmond and captured the scene in sketches he developed into a series of illustrations and paintings, including the culminating work, “Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia.” McInnis, an art professor at the University of Virginia, will describe the evolving iconography of abolitionist art and the role of visual culture in the trans-Atlantic world of abolitionism.; 804/342-9676; 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond.

Special tour, “Virginia: Mother of Presidents.” 10:30 a.m.–noon Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Virginia Historical Society. Did you know that Virginia is the birthplace of eight American presidents? In honor of Presidents Day, examine objects, books, letters, portraits, and broadsides in the VHS collection associated with the Virginians elected to our nation’s highest political office. Tour will be led by William Rasmussen, the society’s Lora M. Robins Curator. Buy tickets online, $10/VHS members; $17, nonmembers.; 804/342-9676 or email 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond.

Special tour, “Virginia Through Women’s Eyes.” 10:30 a.m.–noon Tuesday, March 13. The first gift of manuscripts to the Virginia Historical Society included a transcript of proceedings against Grace Sherwood, who stood accused of witchcraft in 1706. In honor of Women’s History Month, the society will explore objects, books, letters, portraits and broadsides associated with 400 years of Virginia women. Behind-the-scenes tour will be led by L. Paige Newman, assistant archivist. Buy tickets online, $10/VHS members; $17, nonmembers.; 804/342-9676 or email 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond.

Please email listings to (subject: History Calendar), fax to 540/373-8455 or visit This week’s special deadline: Noon Wednesday preceding the section’s Tuesday publication.

George Washington’s 280th Birthday Celebration at His Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm. George Washington’s Birthday Party, Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Celebrate the birthday of America’s first president with games, crafts, first person intepreters, theater performance, cake, more. Adults $5.00, children (under age 17) free. Note: With the exception of birthday events, Ferry Farm is closed for the season until March. It’s located east of Fredericksburg on State Route 3 in Stafford County, at 268 Kings Highway.