Friday, December 8, 2023

VA250, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to Host Nation’s First Planning Event for America’s 250th

Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builders Patrick Henry (L) and Thomas Jefferson, portrayed by Richard Schumann and Kurt Smith. Henry and Jefferson were among the Virginians who proposed the creation of intercolonial committees of correspondence on March 12, 1773. (Photo by Brian Newson, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will host the nation’s first event to launch multistate planning efforts for commemorating America’s 250th anniversary in 2026 this weekend.

Taking place on Colonial Williamsburg’s campus March 10-12, “A Common Cause to All” will bring together nearly 300 representatives from 34 states and 50 Virginia localities to exchange ideas and begin collaborating on 250th anniversary events across the country, including opportunities for teachers and students, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced.

“The VA250 Commission is honored to convene this esteemed group of historians and 250th planners from across the nation as we come together in collaboration and with a spirit of optimism, looking toward 2026 and beyond,” said Virginia Del. Terry L. Austin, chair of the VA250 Commission.  “Standing with other states, we will affirm our commitment to a national commemoration that is multi-faceted, invites participation, and celebrates the American story, much of which began here in Virginia.”

The historic Raleigh Tavern where Virginians including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry met to propose uniting the colonies and mobilizing support for the American cause through intercolonial committees of correspondence on March 12, 1773. (Photo by Darnell Vennie, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

The timing of the meeting coincides with the 250th anniversary of the intercolonial committees of correspondence, drafted in Williamsburg at the Raleigh Tavern by Virginians — including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry — that became a vital network of communication among the colonies critical to the revolutionary movement.

“It seems appropriate that the first national event marking the 250th anniversary of our founding will take place in Williamsburg, given the role the city and Virginia played in creating a intercolonial movement in 1773,” said Carly Fiorina, board chair of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “We are honored to convene hundreds of state representatives to initiate discussions of events planned for communities around the country. As importantly, we will weave these events into a national conversation about our country’s founding and the significance of that moment, today, for the nation and the world.”

Key speakers will include Bill Whitaker, an award-winning correspondent for CBS 60 Minutes; Fiorina; Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and Pulitzer-prize winning author and historian Stacy Schiff.

To commemorate the creation of the committees of correspondence, a “resolution of mutual support, collaboration and partnership” will be affirmed on the steps of the reconstructed Raleigh Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. The public commemoration, which will feature a Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums procession and an appearance by Thomas Jefferson, is open to the public.

See a complete list of event speakers and the agenda for the full weekend in the official program.

Related Articles