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Motorcycle club crusades for museum
Crusaders Motorcycle Club hosting benefit ride for U.S. Slavery Museum

 An unfinished garden is on the grounds of the planned National Slavery Museum.
FILE/REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 8/26/2007

by tess hamilton

The Crusaders Motorcycle Club invites the public to participate in a benefit ride to raise money for the U.S. National Slavery Museum.

The motorcycle group will lead a ride from First Baptist Church of Love, at 124 Bend Farm Road, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The procession will continue through downtown Fredericksburg and end at the museum site near Central Park.

"We're hoping to reach as many people as possible. Any vehicle can register to be [a part]," said Crusaders President Leon Pratt.

A lack of funding is holding up construction of the slavery museum complex, which will include both museum galleries and educational facilities. The museum will be part of the Celebrate Virginia development in Fredericksburg.

The Crusaders hope to raise money with an $8 minimum registration donation from each ride participant. The museum has been asking all Americans to contribute $8 or more to the construction effort.

All of the money raised during Saturday's ride will go toward museum development and construction.

Museum organizers want to raise $10 million by the end of the summer to fund the first phase of the museum--a visitors center and garden--in time for a 2008 "soft opening."

The entire museum, scheduled to open in 2009 or 2010, is projected to cost $150 million, according to a museum spokesperson.

The Crusaders Motorcycle Club is a Fredericksburg-area Christian organization that has been raising money for local and national charities for 16 years.


The benefit ride will begin at First Baptist Church of Love at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The church is located at 124 Bend Farm Road, one-half mile south of Fredericksburg on Routes 2 and 17.

Contact Leon Pratt, Crusaders Motorcycle Club president, at 540/429-9526 for more information, or call the Rev. Hashmel Turner at 540/371-5180.