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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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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.