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Zann Nelson is a researcher specializing in historical investigations, public speaker and award -winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the President of History Quest and Special Project Director for The African American Descendants’ Quest. She can be reached through the Culpeper Times, at M16439@aol.com or www. facebook.com/ZannsPlace.

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story. Once off the train they allegedly attacked the station master and began to throw “sticks and stones” at the trainmen. Apparently, word had spread rapidly as they were met by a large crowd of white men armed with baseball bats. According to a newspaper report, one of the rioters slipped off to a nearby house and returned with a gun. Instead of wounding one of the white men, this same man was shot in the leg, presumably not self-inflicted. The articles closed the report stating that a few of the men were arrested and taken to Culpeper to await a hearing. I have searched the courthouse for records and so far, have come up empty-handed. There are more files to examine. I met with the gentleman that put me on to the story and reported my findings. He not being from the South suggested that perhaps after some consideration the local authorities determined no harm, no foul and dropped the case. I was not convinced. I continued the research and found several additional articles (under different headings). Those commentaries painted a different

picture theorizing that the attempt to break the Jim Crow law by sitting in a “No Coloreds Allowed” section of the train was a ruse: the real intent was to murder the station master. I now have a more detailed account of the event with names! Until I can give you the best of my research, ponder on the statement below written in one of the newly discovered publications two days after the event. The article reported that two negroes named Jim and Frank – I have withheld the last names for now- were arrested. Jim was taken to Culpeper to await the next Grand Jury hearing and Frank was “fined and imprisoned at hard labor.” With names in my pocket, I will return to the courthouse and attempt to speak with someone that may have heard the stories. You can bet there will be more to come! Until next week, be well.

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