About The Trail to Freedom Group
In 2009, The Crossing Work Group planned and implemented the Trail to Freedom—a physical trail (still in development) supported by A-V and digital resources and onsite media. The trail was dedicated in 2010; the website is active (and effective), and other tours and programs have been built around the Trail to Freedom.
In 2012, The Crossing Work Group conceived and executed “10,000 Lights to Freedom,” a participatory program of music, expression, narration, and the words of those who were there. Though plagued by weather, the program was exceedingly well received. Beyond that, the committee has worked to present programs in Spotsylvania (in 2011 and 2012) and in Fauquier (in early 2013). In general, the story of The Crossing has emerged as a new and important narrative amidst the busy and momentous history of Fredericksburg.
Statement of Purpose
The Trail to Freedom Group (formerly The Crossing Work Group) will continue the efforts to commemorate and interpret the thousands of slaves who passed to freedom in the Fredericksburg region—many of them crossing the Rappahannock—throughout the Civil War. The TTF will not just focus on the moment of freedom, but will understand and interpret newly freed slaves’ uncertain journey into freedom—their quest to find work and homes in a reordered society—including the decision by some to return as soldiers to fight for others’ freedom. By undertaking research, developing interpretive media, supporting artistic expression, and practicing continuous outreach to the public and other historical organizations, The Trail to Freedom Group will establish freedom and emancipation as clear and present themes in this region’s historical narrative, demonstrating The Crossing’s relevance to the nation, to individuals directly affected, and to the generations that have followed.