Preserving a Hero’s Story

William Scott, who was twelve when he fled slavery in Virginia during the Civil War, grew up to be a teacher, minister, business leader, and political activist.

Nearly a century later, Scott’s grandson bequeathed his papers to Randall Burkett of MARBL with the request that his story be preserved.

“Scott was a fearless advocate for full citizenship rights at a time when, increasingly, those rights were being crushed by Northern indifference and Southern intransigence,” says Burkett.

Scott’s archive includes sermons, photographs, pamphlets, and a Confederate battle sword snatched from a dead officer in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Burkett and his wife, Nancy, donated the Scott papers and much of their personal store of historical materials to MARBL, including hundreds of rare books on African American history, politics, and culture; a series of children’s books; and ten boxes of little-known periodicals.

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