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Nearly three years after Alexandria’s Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) launched a program to create reparations and research related to Black Americans enslaved or compelled to work at the school, a new lecture program this week is scheduled to look at what kind of progress has been made on that front.

On Wednesday, March 30, the Alexandria Historical Society, the Alexandria Black History Museum and the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project are hosting a virtual lecture to examine what that program has accomplished since it launched in September 2019.

“In September 2019, Virginia Theological Seminary announced the creation of a reparations endowment fund and the intent to research, uncover, and recognize African Americans who toiled under the oppression of VTS during slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era,” the city said in a release. “The March 30th lecture looks at the program’s progress providing reparations to descendants since March 2021’s lecture and overview.”

Ebonee Davis, an associate for Multicultural Ministries Programming and Historical Research for Reparations with VTS, is scheduled to present some of the program’s findings and speak with one of the descendants who received reparations about the program’s impact.

The program is scheduled for 7-8:15 p.m. and is free, but advance registration is required.

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The original sculpture of Earl Lloyd at Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Photo via City of Alexandria)

A marker will be unveiled in front of NBA trailblazer Earl Francis Lloyd’s childhood home in Alexandria.

The city announced today (Friday) that the historical state marker will be at 1020 Montgomery Street and an event will be held for its unveiling, featuring remarks from Mayor Justin Wilson, Kevin Lloyd, son of Earl Loyd, and others.

The unveiling will take place between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Saturday, April 2, according to a news release.

Last year, the city unveiled a statue of Lloyd at the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame. In 2020, the city named the 1000 block of Montgomery Street after him, Earl F. Lloyd Way.

The history of Lloyd’s NBA career is outlined in the release and can be read below.

Earl Lloyd was born in Alexandria in 1928 to Theodore Lloyd Sr. and Daisy Lloyd. At Parker-Gray, Lloyd played on the basketball team and earned All-South Atlantic Conference honors three times, and All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference honors twice.

Earl’s defensive prowess earned him the nickname “Moon Fixer” due to his size and shot blocking ability. His success led to a scholarship in 1946 to West Virginia State, which he led to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. In 1949 and 1950, the Pittsburgh Courier named him to its All-American team.

After graduating in 1950, Earl was drafted by the Washington Capitols. He was one of only four black players drafted to the NBA that year. Due to a scheduling coincidence, his start on Oct. 31, 1950, made him the first African American to play in an NBA game. He achieved that honor one day before “Chuck” Cooper played for the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat Clifton played for the New York Knicks.

After playing only seven NBA games, Lloyd was drafted into the army during the Korean War. After two years in the army, he returned to the NBA in 1952 with the Syracuse Nationals, following the dissolution of the Capitols in 1951. Earl played six seasons with the Nationals, winning the championship in 1955 alongside Jim Tucker. Lloyd and Tucker were the first two African Americans to win an NBA championship. Lloyd passed away in 2015.

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Morning Notes

George Washington’s Mount Vernon releases first 18th century-inspired beers — “George Washington’s Mount Vernon is releasing its first 18th century-inspired beer. The first two releases are Mount Vernon Virginia’s Porter and Mount Vernon Rye Cask Aged Porter.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Audrey Davis talks about museums and black history in Alexandria — “Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, stops by Speak Easy this month.” [Alexandria Times]

Zebra profiles local Indian restaurant — “Our dinner at Dishes of India, 1510-A Belleview Blvd., had lots of curry with lots of savory spices. Indian food also varies by region, much like American food. Dishes of India features northern Indian food with a smattering of other regions.” [Zebra]

Virginia State University student from Alexandria dies after shooting — “Police say a Virginia college student has died after a shooting at an apartment building.” [WTOP]

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Freedom House at 1315 Duke Street (photo via City of Alexandria)

The new opening of the Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street), a museum dedicated to telling the stories of the victims of slavery trafficked through Alexandria, has been pushed back to a full year after its original planned opening.

The city said the museum is now expected to open to the public in spring 2022.

“Currently closed for repairs, the building has undergone a preliminary restoration and the Office of Alexandria looks forward to opening the building to the public with new exhibits in Spring 2022,” the city said in a press release.

The building, once an East Coast hub for the slave trade, had originally been scheduled to open as a museum this spring.

The Office of Historic Alexandria is planning a public presentation on a historic structure report recently completed for the building by consultants. The report includes in-depth research on the architecture and history of the building. The presentation will be made on Zoom next Thursday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. with an opportunity for questions after.

To inform the restoration of the historic building, SmithGroup began the study of the building and the Historic Structure Report in February 2021,” the press release said. “This report builds on prior archaeological excavation conducted in 1987, and recent archival and academic research… The Historic Structure Report includes a documentary study of the building’s history, an assessment of existing building conditions, digital drawings of the site changes over time, and recommendations for the building’s restoration.”

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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street) has just secured a substantial new grant that will help the museum digitize much of its collections.

The museum announced yesterday that it will receive a $243,356 grant from the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture. The grant will help fund digitization and interpretation for four of the museum’s archival collections.

Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, said in the press release that the museum will be digitizing documents, objects and other material from some of Alexandria’s most Black historic figures, such as:

The process will involve creating and updating catalog records along with scanning or photographing collection items.

One of the end-stages of the project will be an exhibition on Kendrix’s work, scheduled to open in spring 2023.

“We are excited and honored to be a 2021 recipient of the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture,” Gretchen Bulova, Director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, said a press release. “Support from IMLS permits us share Alexandria’s vibrant African American history with new and wider audiences as well as educate future generations about Black excellence and achievement in Alexandria.”

The goal is to develop an online exhibition space that will help explore themes of civil rights and equality in the city’s history.

“By digitizing these collections,” said Davis. “We will be able to provide increased public and research access, improve collections care by reducing future handling, and ensure best practices in collections management. It will also enable the Museum to develop future learning opportunities and programming for life-long learners, families, and school-age students.”

Courtesy ACPS

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The Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration this weekend.

Juneteenth is a holiday that marks date that slavery was fully abolished in the United States. A virtual program called “Our People: A Juneteenth Story” will premiere on Saturday, June 19, and will include footage of Washington Revels Jubilee Voices at historically significant sites throughout Alexandria presented by the Black History Museum.

“This special production was filmed on location at heritage sites throughout historic Alexandria, Virginia, with a virtual release presented by the Museum on Juneteenth,” Washington Revels Jubilee Voices said on its website.

Attendees can sign up to watch the presentation live, and the presentation will be available at the Office of Historic Alexandria’s YouTube page after the premiere.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Black History Museum director speaks on anniversary of George Floyd’s murder — “Yes, there have been changes – Diversity and inclusion training are being taught in universities and the American workplace, some racists are being held accountable, corporations have promised new more transparent hiring procedures that would add African Americans to leadership positions, TV shows and advertisers have hired people of color in record numbers and The Oscars are not quite so #OscarsSoWhite anymore. All of this is meaningful, but it must be more than a quick fix. Everyone needs an ally, but being a true ally goes deeper than the protests. To be a real ally, you need to be there for the hard work, the messy work, and the unpleasant conversations about race and racism. You need to turn the mirror inward and make the personal changes that will help make your community a better place.” [Zebra]

Local chef appearing on FOX baking competition tonight — “Erinn Roth still can’t believe she was chosen to compete on FOX’s new baking competition show. ‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET… The contestants are allowed to explore a kitchen that was recently used to bake a specific treat. They must use their baking skills and the clues left behind to determine what was baked and then they have two hours to recreate what they think it was. At the end of each episode, after two rounds, a team is eliminated.” [Alexandria Living]

Roy Rogers to reopen year and a half after Belle View Shopping Center fire — “The Roy Rogers in the Belle View Shopping Center will celebrate its long-awaited grand re-opening on June 1, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced. Located at 1506 Belle View Blvd., the restaurant closed in October 2019 following a devastating multi-alarm fire that spread along the roofline of the shopping center. An investigation by the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s office determined that fire began in a walk-in cooler at Yido Ramen and Sushi, which had opened just days before. [Alexandria Living]

Old Hat Bar opening delayed in Old Town by staffing challenges — “Residents eager to see Old Hat Bar open its doors in Old Town Alexandria will have to wait a little longer. The gastropub was set to open Friday, May 21 at 112 N. Saint Asaph Street, the former location of King Street Blues. But like other businesses in the food service industry, Old Hat Bar faces staffing challenges.” [Patch]

City to Host Town Hall on Anti-Asian Violence — The City of Alexandria invites the public to attend a virtual Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Town Hall, “Contextualizing Anti-Asian Violence in the Age of COVID,” on Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m. The virtual panel discussion focuses on the wave of racial incidents and attacks directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel features Elisabeth Chan, Sue Jean Cho, John Min, and Alexander Purrugganan,  faculty members of Northern Virginia Community College. Their presentation will be followed by an interactive question and answer session. The presentation is free, but attendees must register.” [City of Alexandria]

PHOTOS: Alexandria Fire Department train on the Potomac River — “Yesterday, some of our first responders participated in swift water boat operator training. #traineveryday #stayready” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High 93F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Partly cloudy skies overnight. Low 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Crew at AMC Theatres — “AMC amazing. That’s the promise we deliver to nearly 35,000 associates, 240 million guests domestically, and 350 million guests worldwide each year. AMC has propelled industry innovation since 1920, and we continue to innovate by delivering premium sight and sound, new and improved food and beverage options, and diverse content in our state-of-the-art theatres.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Black History Museum has spent the last year gathering documentation from the unrest throughout the city following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

The virtual exhibition “Preserving Their Names” opens May 25 and includes pictures and objects from the demonstrations, including banners, face masks and poems.

Violent incidents against Black Americans throughout the country came to a head last summer, and in Alexandria there were a number of demonstrations, including on King Street, outside police headquarters and Charles Houston Recreation Center.

The museum is continuing to collect materials on the events, especially signs and posters.

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After months of being closed during the holidays, a number of museums in Alexandria will be open to the public starting this Thursday, March 25.

The Alexandria Archaeology MuseumAlexandria History Museum at the LyceumFriendship Firehouse Museum and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will open with modified hours, capacities, and advance ticket requirements, according to the city.

This follows a closure over the holidays during a surge, which ended up closing a number of museums.

“For the safety of museum staff, volunteers and guests, visitors are expected to follow the requirements of Executive Order 72 and the City mask ordinance,” the city advised. “Everyone ages 5 and older is required to wear masks that fit snugly over their nose and mouth at all times; to keep 6 feet of physical distance between households; and to wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol frequently.”

The following museums are still closed:

  • Alexandria Black History Museum (closed for renovation)
  • Archives and Records Center
  • Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site (closed for renovation)
  • Freedom House Museum (closed for renovation)
  • Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

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