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Montpelier depot takes visitors to segregated past page 2
Montpelier Station train depot is restored to its 1910-era form, including separate waiting areas for 'colored' and 'white'

 Visitors are reflected in and seen through a window looking into the segregated waiting room labeled 'Colored' at the newly renovated Montpelier train depot at James Madison's Montpelier in Orange County yesterday.
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Date published: 2/22/2010


"I think how hard it would be for Madison to imagine not just President Obama, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or her predecessor Condoleezza Rice, or her predecessor Colin Powell or his predecessor Madeleine Albright," Williams said.

"This is a different nation. This is a different moment," he added.

But he said it's important for the nation's "secrets" to be exposed.

"That's why this depot is so important to me, because it speaks the truth," he said.

The struggle for racial equality often centered around public places and public transportation, Williams said.

He mentioned the lunch counter sit-ins at a Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C.

He remembered Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala.

And he recalled Homer Plessy's insistence on sitting on a train with white people, the case that went to the Supreme Court and led to "separate but equal" becoming the law of the land.

After third grade, Annette Freeman moved with her family to New York, and she said she never felt the deep sting of racism.

But now, living with her daughter and her family in Culpeper, she thinks it's important that today's youths know of the nation's segregated past.

"Our children should not forget," she said. "If you put it in front of them, it helps them realize, there was a time like this."

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com

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Prospect Heights Middle student Hannah Vaughn led the crowd of more than 200 at the Montpelier Train Depot dedication in singing the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."

The lyrics include:

We shall overcome.

We shall overcome.

We shall overcome some day.

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall overcome some day.