Segregation, gentrification and heritage in Fredericksburg, Virginia
This chapter explores the contested heritage of the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the potential for the contemporary heritage industry to both increase social rifts and heal some community wounds. This Southern city was once racially mixed, but the Civil War pocked the city with battlefields, and in its wake a distinct African-American neighbourhood formed, bordered by the hard edge of the railroad tracks and the more porous border of a hill. Proximity to cultural resources and transportation has recently resulted in more racial diversity in this neighbourhood, but it has also marginalised working-class African Americans and their heritage. Through archival research, mapping and resident interviews, this chapter explores the challenge of preserving the intangible heritage of an underrepresented community. Contemporary Fredericksburg is prospering, yet unchecked gentrification could result in the erasure of the entwined stories of black and white citizens when strategies for inclusive development and interpretation are not explored.