For Immediate Release: March 28, 2013
SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY RESIDENTS SPEAK OUT AT COUNTY TOWN HALL AND PUBLIC HEARING
Spotsylvania, Va. – Virginia Organizing and the Spotsylvania County NAACP shared testimony at the March 28 Town Hall and Public Hearing regarding changes to the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room mural. The groups are asking the Board of Supervisors to add a more diverse representation of the county’s residents to the mural, which currently depicts European Americans and does not represent the influential Native American and African-American people in the county’s history.
Dee Jacobson, a Virginia Organizing Fredericksburg Chapter leader, said this project became important to her because of her son. “Being engaged with Virginia Organizing on this project started out as just another campaign,” she said. “What we didn’t foresee, for both me and my 15-year old son Jaylen Lee Wright-Jacobson, was how personal this project would become to us.”
Jacobson discovered that her son’s great uncle, John J. Wright, was added to the mural 20 years after it was first painted. “In working with other African-American families in Spotsylvania County, we began to comprehend the depth and breadth of the African-American contributions that also need to be acknowledged,” said Jacobson.
John J. Wright is the only non-white person currently pictured on the mural and was added only after protests from a group of African-American residents who wanted inclusion of people of color in the mural.
Andrew C. Yancey, President of the Spotsylvania NAACP, wants the Board of Supervisors to act to honor those who have made the county what it is today. “As a citizen of this great county for the past 15 years, I would like the board’s support in recognizing past citizens, from all walks of life, who worked so very hard to bring equality, fairness, and justice for all citizens of this county,” said Yancey.
Another Fredericksburg Chapter leader, Helen Sanders, said, “The telling of local history through public art has far too often left out the contributions of African-Americans and Virginia Indians. The opportunity to change that is possible for the benefit of all who want a more complete view of the past.”
Virginia Organizing, the Spotsylvania Branch of the NAACP, the John J. Wright Museum, the 23rd Colored Troops Re-enactment Organization, local churches and citizens of Spotsylvania County have all worked to make the mural more inclusive.
To interview a Virginia Organizing spokesperson, or for more information on the mural project, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.