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St. Francis de Sales at Mt.Pleasant and St. Emma at Belmead have a rich human history that includes Native Americans, African Americans, and Europeans. They are places of past and present human activity. The mansion at Belmead is on the historic register, and St. Francis de Sales is in the process of obtaining this status. Both buildings are significant for groups of persons who have been connected through time to the land and the heritage that connects both sites.

Sister Jean Ryan walks up to the long-empty St. Francis de Sales High School.

African American Family, c. 1860 Credit: National Museum of American History Vintage African American photography courtesy of Black History Album, The Way We Were.

Bessie Coleman, the daughter of a poor, southern, African American family, became one of the most famous women and African American in aviation history.

Sister Jean Ryan talks about the chapel inside the long-empty St. Francis de Sales High School.

St. Francis/St. Emma Military Academy, black Catholic Military high schools in Virginia