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Will Fredericksburg officials embrace sister city in Africa? page 2
What is the future of sister-city relationship between Prince's Town and Fredericksburg?

 "If we can make personal connections back to the continent, it would be difficult to ignore the plight of most Africans," says local Sister-City Association President Paula Royster.
FRANK DELANO/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 8/30/2007

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Four leaders of Prince's Town came to Fredericksburg in December of last year for the ceremonies establishing the relationship. The City Council appropriated $8,000 to the Sister City Association to help get them here. The appropriation was for two years.

Royster is the spark plug who fired the council's interest and approval of the relationship last year.

"This trip is to solidify the relationship between the two cities," she said. "Putting faces with names makes the relationship more personable and therefore more successful."

During the four-day October visit, she said an association archaeologist will work with townspeople to survey the town's 17th-century German fort, develop a plan for its maintenance and conduct a dig.

The similarity of the names of Fort Gross-Friedrichsburg and Fredericksburg led last year to the establishment of the sister-city relationship with Prince's Town.

An engineer will demonstrate how to generate electricity from sun, water and wind. A doctor will conduct health and hygiene workshops, Royster said.

branches from the vine

Royster, who is also president of the Center for African American Genealogical Research Inc., will lead a workshop on computers and genealogy.

She also plans to collect DNA samples from Prince's Town residents.

"We all come from the same vine, although we are many branches," she said. "There are any numbers of cases here in the states where DNA has brought families together that would have otherwise not known they were related.

"Our theory is that if we can make personal connections back to the continent of civilization, it would be difficult for anyone to ignore the plight of most all Africans, especially if that African is the distant relative for which your very being is validated."

City Councilman Marvin Dixon understands.

"I am a family genealogist and have reconnected with my far-flung family throughout the United States, Ireland and Germany. My family came from the poorest of [the] poor. Poverty isn't the issue. The remoteness and poverty of Prince's Town is irrelevant in re-establishing family ties," he said.

Royster said the association will use "nontraditional mechanisms" to establish bonds with Prince's Town. The mechanisms include technology, education, computer literacy, historical preservation, genealogy and DNA.

They "are not traditional, either in whole, in part or in combination, of any people-to-people or sister-city relationship anywhere," she said.


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ON THE NET >> For more photos, video or to order photo reprints, fredericksburg.com

SUNDAY: Sister cities Prince's Town and Fredericksburg are world's apart. MONDAY: Sister-city relationship shines a beacon of hope into Prince's Town. Tale of two soccer balls illustrates town's need, and obsession. TUESDAY: Spotsylvania man leads effort to protect villagers from malaria. YESTERDAY: Profile of Fredericksburg's Pamela Bridgewater, ambassador to Ghana.

TOMORROW: Forty years later, reporter's return to Ghana is bittersweet. In LIFE SATURDAY: Remembering Prince's Town's Golden Age, and a photo essay on a traditional burial. In TOWN & COUNTY For previous stories in this series, see fredericksburg.com

Reporter Frank Delano visited Prince's Town, Fredericksburg's new sister city, during a July trip to Ghana, where he served in the Peace Corps 40 years ago.

The Fredericksburg-Princes Town Sister City Association will collect books, school supplies, shoes and sporting goods "to meet some of the short-term needs of our sister city," said association President Paula D. Royster.

Royster said the collection drive will begin tomorrow and end Oct. 12.

DROP-OFF SITES: Books, school supplies The Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline St.

Beck's Antique's & Books, 708 Caroline St.

James Monroe High School library, 2300 Washington Ave.

Shoes Room 101 of Monroe Hall, University of Mary Washington. Sporting goods Sporting goods, including soccer balls and apparel can be dropped off at The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St. FOR MORE INFO Call Mary Bridgewater at 540/373-7951 or Maude Williams at 540/785-9925, or go to fredericksburgsistercity.org.