Celebrating Black History Month 2022

in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford, VA

By Jenna Elizabeth Russo February 24, 2022

There are so many in-person and virtual opportunities for families to celebrate Black History Month 2022 in the Fredericksburg region. Whether it’s supporting Black-owned businesses, participating in self-guided historic tours, or learning about influential Black leaders in regional and American history - there is something for everybody.

What is Black History Month, and what are its origins? 

The purpose of Black History Month is to celebrate Black achievements and contributions to American history and society. In 1976, former President Gerald Ford formally designated February as Black History Month “to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout [American] history.” 

Black History Month derives from National [Black] History Week, initiated in 1926 by what today is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). That group was spearheaded in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Mooreland to “research and promote achievements by Black people and other peoples of African descent.” 

Why February?

The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, in honor of the centennial anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Between 1926 and 1975, National Black History Week was celebrated during the second week of February as a homage not only to Lincoln, but to Frederick Douglass, who was born on February 14th. 

What is the theme of Black History Month 2022?

Since the official designation of February as Black History Month in 1976, every U.S. president has endorsed a particular theme. The theme for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness. According to the ASALH, “This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (i.e. birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. 


Here are some terrific resources to guide you and your family in discovering and supporting black-owned businesses in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. You can show your support by shopping in-person or online, purchasing gift cards, sharing positive reviews on social media platforms or via word-of-mouth, or engaging with the business’ social media posts. 

Heart 4 The Community Initiative (H4TCI) is a non-profit organization whose vision is to “be and speak the example of Jesus Christ by being integrated into several areas of community support and activities’ to be a well-established, well-connected, credible connection between the needs of the community and the resources that supply the help.”  Their 2022 Black Business Spotlight Series, accessible via the H4TCI Facebook page, has featured Black Businesses that serve the Fredericksburg region. 

The Virginia Black Business Directory, based in downtown Fredericksburg, is a non-profit organization committed to celebrating Black entrepreneurship by amplifying the presence and exposure of over 1500 Black businesses in the DMV. Visit their website or FB page to learn about Black businesses in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. 

The City of Fredericksburg provides a list of Black-owned businesses in the 22401 that you can sort through by category: Advertising/Marketing/Media; Arts & Entertainment; Business & Professional Services; Community/Education/Non-Profit Organizations; Health & Wellness; Personal Services & Care; Real Estate; Religious; Restaurants/Food & Beverage; Retail/Shopping.


There are robust virtual opportunities to celebrate Black History in a safe, socially-distanced way. Most options are available for streaming anytime, so you and your family can tune in at your own convenience.

On Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 11 am EST, the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union, the Spotsylvania Branch of the NAACP, and the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum will host “The History Makers of Spotsylvania County: Honoring the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Your Family.” The virtual event will livestream from the Spotsylvania Branch of the NAACP FB page.

The Interfaith Leaders of Fredericksburg Black History Live! Series is available via FB livestream, courtesy of the Heart 4 The Community Initiative. The first two lectures have featured: Apostle Karen Bettis-Davis discussing Africans in the Bible, and; Chaplain Munira Abdalla discussing Hagar and the Zamzam Well. 

The Stafford NAACP Black History Month Series is sharing daily educational videos and/or infographics featuring prominent Black figures in American history. There is also a three-part FB Live series featuring prominent Black local leaders every Friday during Black History Month from 6-7 pm EST. Sister Lateefah Muhammad, CEO & Founder of NAJM Consulting, LLC, kicked off the series on Friday, February 11th, and the recording is accessible on the Stafford NAACP FB page. The next two segments will feature Apostle Larry G. Brown Sr., Spirit of Truth Deliverance Church, on February 18th, and Bishop Leonard Lacey, United Faith Christian Ministry, on February 25th. 

Watch the video recording of the Historical Marker Unveiling Ceremony Commemorating the 1950 Walker-Grant Protest via Visit Fredericksburg, VA, or via the Fredericksburg NAACP.

The University of Mary Washington’s William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series - initiated in 2003 with the conviction that biography is the most intimate and most entertaining approach to history - reveals how extraordinary people - some born to privilege and power, others from modest backgrounds - have shaped art, science, literature, government, and the human experience. The series is now in its 19th season, and all archived lectures since 2012 are available electronically for free via the Great Lives website. Learn about influential Black figures throughout American and world history, such as Emmett Till and Ida B. Wells (featured respectively in 2022); Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois, Anna Julia Cooper, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eudora Welty (2021); Frederick Douglass (2020); Billie Holiday and Nelson Mandela (2019); The Tuskegee Airmen and Pauli Murray (2018); Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman (2017); Jesse Owens, Ethel Payne, and Henrietta Lacks (2016); Duke Ellington (2015); Martin Luther King Jr. (2014); Arthur Ashe and Marian Anderson (2013); Mildred Loving and Madam C.J. Walker (2012). Other lectures feature individuals or topics that had a direct bearing on Black lives: Thomas Jefferson: Paragon of Democracy or Racist Hypocrite? (2020 Great Presidential Lives); The Jeffersons and Hemingses (2017); Matthew Brady, Ulysses S. Grant, and Winnie Davis (2015); Bob Dylan (2014); and Abraham Lincoln (2013). 


The Fredericksburg region - located at the pivotal crossroads between Richmond, VA and Washington, D.C. - offers a unique opportunity to witness the interplay between local and national history as it has concerned Black Americans. 

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library has shared a list of resources on Black history in the development of the Fredericksburg region. These include books, video interviews, oral histories, county court records and census returns, voting records, newspaper archives, digital collections, institutional histories, historical landmarks, and biographies. Some are available for check-out, while others are restricted to in-person use at the Virginiana Room, located on the lower level of the Fredericksburg Branch. 


The Trail to Freedom retraces the route of as many as 10,000 enslaved persons who crossed the Rappahannock River to freedom in a mass act of self-emancipation during the Union Army occupation of Fredericksburg and Stafford in the spring and summer of 1862. Stafford County’s Trail to Freedom Driving Tour includes a printable map available for free download, as well as a series of accompanying YouTube videos by Scott Walker, Owner of Heritage Media LLC and Hallowed Ground Tours. Sites include: Old Mill Park; Falmouth Waterfront Park; Moncure Conway House; Falmouth Union Church; Chatham Manor; Falmouth Depot Site; Leeland Station; Potomac Creek Bridge; Brooke Station, and; Aquia Landing (subject of the film, 12 Years A Slave). The John Washington Walking Tour, based in the City of Fredericksburg, details the harrowing journey of John Washington, a 23-year-old slave whose surviving memoir (1877) provides an invaluable first-hand account. John Hennessy, Retired Chief Historian of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, narrates the walking tour via a free podcast and accompanying map. Sites include: Foode; Slave Auction Block (removed and now relocated to the Fredericksburg Area Museum); Old Town Hall; Shakespeare House Hotel Site; the Shiloh Baptist Church Old Site; Citizens Hall on the Corner of Hanover & Princess Anne Streets; 409 Hanover Street; and concluding with Old Mill Park. More details on individual sites and addresses available here.

Download the Traipse app (available for iOS & Androids) for a free, self-guided African-American Heritage of Fredericksburg Tour. The tour will include 14 stops highlighting the Civil Rights Movement. 

The African American Heritage Trail is a self-guided, 75 mile driving tour through the Spotsylvania County countryside. A printable brochure details the driving route and provides an overview of: the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center and Museum (Please note: Unfortunately, the museum is currently closed to the public); the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union Parksite; the Waller Plantation; The Well at Mount Olive; Mining in Livingston; the Little Mine Road Baptist Church; Stubbs School; Benjamin Brown; Goodwin Mine; Piney Branch School; 23rd U.S. Colored Infantry Engagement; the Old Court House and Jail; George Boxley; the Marshall Center; the John J. Wright Home; Spotsylvania Yellow Jackets; and Alfred L. Fairchild. A mobile friendly interactive map is also available. 


North Stafford High School will be hosting its Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, February 26, 2022 from 4-7 pm EST. The event will feature student performances, local Black vendors, and Holistic Life Coach Angela Kerri as the keynote speaker. More details available on the North Stafford High School website

Schedule a tour of the Belmont Estate and adjoining Fannie Roots House. The Belmont Estate was home to renowned early 20th century painter Gari Melchers, whose love of depicting local scenes has provided a rare glimpse into the lives of Black people in Fredericksburg and Stafford during that era. Fannie Roots was a highly respected Stafford County citizen, known for her active participation in the Civil Rights Movement and in local politics throughout her 90-year lifetime. She was a “fiercely independent soul who managed to live on her own, with no indoor plumbing and only a wood stove for heat and cooking her entire life.” 


While February provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Black History, let’s continue to recognize Black achievements and contributions to American history and society throughout the year!

Register for the Virginia Black Business Directory’s third annual Virginia Black Business Expo, scheduled for August 5th-7th, 2022. Details and tickets are available via Eventbrite. You can also subscribe to the VABBD mailing list by texting BLKBUSINESSEXPO to 22828. 

Follow PD16 Perspective, a news and media platform dedicated to highlighting news for marginalized communities in the City of Fredericksburg, as well as in Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Caroline counties. 

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