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The John J. Wright museum: Worth a look
WHILE MANY local residents have been busy processing disappointment over the failure of the U.S. National Slavery Museum to bear fruit, Terry Miller has quietly been working on her own project: Bringing to light the stories of African-Americans in Spotsylvania County. The result? The John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Museum--and a timely exhibit.
The museum, which just celebrated its second anniversary, is the beginning and the end of a driving tour featuring sites important to the county's black history. It's also the location of a new exhibit on voting rights in Virginia, "The Psychological Power of Voting." The exhibit documents the struggles faced by racial minorities and women as they tried to exercise the franchise. Poll taxes, voting tests, and voter intimidation are regrettably part of our history. But so are the courage and drive of those who recognized the power of the ballot box, and overcame those hurdles.
Ms. Miller, who commutes from Hampton Roads during the museum's Thursday through Saturday hours, became curious about the history of county African-Americans while in this area helping a sick relative. The stories she heard led to research, a book, and, ultimately, a museum.
And the museum? This grass-roots labor of love will enrich the understanding of everyone who visits it.