FrancisEmma, Incorporated, the nonprofit stewards of the historic Belmead-on-the-James property, shares the story of the property's rich historical legacy, current preservation efforts, and its envisioned future as an environmental education center. This compelling story is told through historic photographs, current footage and interviews.
The story of this property, one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places of 2011, might be unique in all of America. Enslaved labor worked productive tobacco fields on the plantations before the end of the Civil War. The property changed hands and purposes in the 1890s, when Mother (now Saint) Katharine Drexel and her sister Louise Drexel Morrell found them on a quest to find a place to offer a top flight education to the children of the Jim Crow South. They ran two private Catholic boarding schools, St. Emma Military Academy for boys and St. Francis de Sales High School for girls, for over seven decades, graduating about 15,000 students total.
The video seeks to tell the story to a broader audience and to gather support for FrancisEmma, Inc’s current $1.5 million fundraising campaign for emergency stabilization and repairs on the historic Belmead Mansion. It will also be used at the Mansion to educate tourists and local visitors to the property.
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