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A group of Black Alexandrians at Jones Point in 1897 (image via Alexandria Black History Museum)

Near the end of Black History Month, Agenda Alexandria is bringing together a panel to discuss Black Alexandrians who helped shape the history of the city.

The talk, called “Resilience and Legacy: Unveiling Alexandria’s Black History” will highlight those who struggled against slavery and Jim Crow-era discrimination.

The panel, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26, will be moderated by Agenda Alexandria Board Member and President of the Alexandria Branch of the NAACP Darrlynn Franklin.

Panelists will include:

  • Audrey Davis: director of the African American History division of the Office of Historic Alexandria
  • Octavia Stanton Caldwell: associate pastor of outreach at Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Krystyn Moon: professor at the Department of History and American Studies at University of Mary Washington

The panel discussion will start at 7 p.m. at the Lyceum (201 S Washington Street).

Tickets are $10 for non-Agenda Alexandria members and the talk can be viewed in person at the Lyceum or online.

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Sign commemorating the lynching of Joseph McCoy (image via City of Alexandria)

Genealogist and Alexandria Living Legend Char McCargo Bah didn’t have a lot of leads to go on when it came to finding the family of a man murdered in Alexandria over 125 years ago.

Joseph McCoy was lynched by a mob in Alexandria in 1897. In recent years, Alexandria has worked to commemorate the brutal murder of McCoy and other lynchings in the city as part of a nationwide initiative.

At a lecture later this month, Bah will discuss the process of finding McCoy’s family. According to the city:

Genealogist Char McCargo Bah will share how she, the official genealogist for the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project, discovered the family of the first of Alexandria’s lynching victims, Joseph McCoy, who was lynched in Alexandria on April 23, 1897. Learn the secrets to investigating a family tree that does not have many leads.

The lecture is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street). The event is free but has limited capacity.

Page from a 1858 registry of Black Alexandria residents (image via City of Alexandria)

Black History Month kicks off next week and events around Alexandria throughout February will explore, commemorate and celebrate Black history in the city.

One of the biggest new additions is the “African American Waterfront Heritage Trail” running along the waterfront.

The trail previously existed as a self-guided tour driven by a website, but next month, there will be a ribbon cutting for new signs marking the trail.

Eleven new signs have been added to the trail, detailing the city’s Black history across centuries.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 10.

“The 11 signs and two orientation panels illuminate the history of the African American community in Alexandria over the span of several centuries,” a release said. “The event will begin at 11 a.m. at the new Fishtown sign on the river side of Founders Park (351 N. Union Street).”

A reception after the ribbon cutting will be held on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory.

The list of events celebrating Black History Month, put together by Visit Alexandria, is below:

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The Black History Museum of Alexandria at 902 Wythe Street (via Google Maps)

The Alexandria Black History Museum closed yesterday (Sunday) for nearly three weeks for interior renovations to ward off mold and water damage.

The city announced the temporary closure, through Aug. 10, in a release on Friday.

This is the second round of upgrades for the museum, which reopened in February 2023 after a three-year closure. Museum leadership took advantage of the forced closure due to the pandemic to undertake renovation work, including refreshed carpet and paint, a new kitchen and accessible bathrooms.

The work also attended to surprise water damage to the basement in the middle of the pandemic that prolonged the closures.

While these new renovations are also related to water, they were already scheduled to be done, according to the city.

The upgrades include coating the walls with Drylok and painting them to “provide a better protective shield against water infiltration and mold,” a city spokeswoman told ALXnow.

The decision to close was “out of an abundance of caution to protect staff and public from breathing in the chemicals being used,” she said.

In addition to the increased mold and water protections, offices will get new ceiling tiles, paint and carpet while the lower-level hallway and stairway will get new linoleum, she said.

The Contrabands and Freedmens Cemetery Memorial at 1001 S. Washington Street in Old Town (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Office of Historic Alexandria is going all out for Juneteenth this year with four events, a storytelling event, and more around the city.

Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, marks the end of slavery in the United States.

There are several city-led programs around Alexandria between this weekend and next marking the occasion with programs available for all ages.

According to the Office of Historic Alexandria:

  • Tales for Young Historians: Saturday, June 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Beatley Library (5005 Duke Street) — The Alexandria Black History Museum and the Alexandria Library invite you to a collaborative event celebrating Juneteenth. All are welcome, but the event is geared toward children ages 5-8.
  • Juneteenth at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum: Friday, June 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum (105 N Union Street, Unit 327) — Visit the Alexandria Archaeology Museum for a hands-on activity related to a free Black site excavated in Alexandria. The activity is paired with the new Lee Street Site permanent archaeology exhibit. The Lee Street Site answers questions like: what is urban archaeology; what did the city look like in the past; and what do archaeologists do? The newly designed exhibit centers the experiences of free and enslaved African Americans in Alexandria.
  • Douglass Cemetery Remembrance: Saturday, June 17, 10 -11:30 a.m. at Douglass Cemetery (105 N Union Street) — Join supporters and volunteers at this historic Black cemetery to place purple ribbons of remembrance on the gravestones and attend a short ceremony following in honor of those buried in Douglass Cemetery and the Juneteenth holiday. In partnership with the Social Responsibility Group (SRG) and the Friends of Douglass Cemetery.
  • Washington Revels Jubilee Voices Concert – Singing the Journey: Juneteenth Joy: Monday, June 19, 2 p.m. at Market Square (300 King Street) —  Enjoy traditional African American songs of struggle and freedom with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices ensemble. The ensemble is committed to the preservation of African American history and traditions – presenting songs and stories of struggle and perseverance, trials and triumphs, as expressed through a cappella music, drama, and dance. Inaugurated in 2010, the group now performs regularly at heritage sites throughout the Washington D.C. area, singing, sharing, and learning the stories of the people in those communities. Event is weather dependent.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also hosting extended hours on Monday, June 19, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. At 10 a.m., the museum is hosting a storytelling event with Alexandria Living Legend Lillian Patterson.

There are also self-guided tours around Alexandria for locals hoping to explore more of the city’s Black history.

Audrey Davis, executive director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, speaks at the Walk the Walk 2020 event at Alexandria’s African American Heritage Park, August 27, 2020. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

Audrey Davis, executive director of the Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street), has been tapped to lead the city’s new African American History division of the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA).

Davis has been a leader in the city’s efforts to preserve Black history in Alexandria, starting as a part-time curator with the city in 1993. The city has made significant strides in recent years to better present the city’s Black history, from the opening of the Freedom House Museum to guided tours of the Parker-Gray neighborhood.

In recent years, the Alexandria Black History Museum has included a new exhibit on the Black Lives Matter protests in Alexandria and worked to bring the city’s Civil Rights history online.

“Audrey is the Dean of Alexandria Black History,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “Elevating her role reflects the reality of how Alexandria has broadened the history we interpret and ensure that every Alexandrian can see their stories in what we learn and discover together.”

City Council member John Chapman said Davis’ past experience has shown she could be integral in helping the city tell the complex histories of sites around Alexandria.

“I’m super excited to see Audrey lead that division,” said Chapman. “Giving her the opportunity to interact with all of our museums and ensure that, not just African American experience, but all of the people’s experience at different sites. We have places where history is layered on history.”

Chapman said he hopes Davis can help lead a “systemic change” in how the city’s history is explored and presented.

The full release is below:

The City of Alexandria is pleased to announce that Audrey P. Davis has been named the Director of the African American History division of the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA). Davis joined the City in 1993, beginning as a part-time curator and most recently serving as the Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM) located at 902 Wythe Street.

Since 1982, the role of OHA has expanded beyond the walls of its museums to historic interpretation of the whole City. The African American History division is a part of a larger reorganization of OHA, which will prioritize resident outreach, improve visitor experience, and regularly engage residents in City initiatives. This new division will ensure the continued inclusion of Black History in City museums and public programming, as well as advancing the City’s goal of building a welcoming community through equity and inclusion.

Davis has served as a public steward for the City’s African American history nationwide and overseas. In 2021, the ABHM was awarded a prestigious grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) which is aiding in the digitization of the City’s Moss Kendrix Collection. Recently, her work with the Freedom House Museum located at 1315 Duke Street was profiled in Preservation Magazine’s Winter 2023 issue.

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Parker-Gray School (photo via City of Alexandria)

While Alexandria is known for its history, an upcoming free tour later this month will take locals into the underexplored stories of the city’s Parker-Gray neighborhood.

Parker-Gray native Michael Johnson, who recently won the Alexandria Historical Society’s T. Michael Miller award for his work raising awareness of issues with the Douglass Memorial Cemetery, is hosting a tour of the neighborhood on Saturday, May 20, from 10-11 a.m. Johnson will be accompanied by an 80-year-old Parker-Gray resident who can help tell some stories from the neighborhood’s history.

Johnson said the goal of the tour is to familiarize residents of the neighborhood and others interested in Alexandria’s history with some of the overlooked stories of one of the city’s most prominent centers of Black history.

“People don’t know [Parker-Gray] at all,” Johnson said. “A lot of the African-American history in this city has been overlooked.”

Johnson said while new residents are encouraged to come and learn more about the history of the neighborhood, many already-established residents may not be aware of the significant historical events and people associated with the neighborhood.

“We’re already losing [that history],” Johnson said. “These kids didn’t learn this history. I didn’t learn this until I was in my 40s.”

Johnson said the tour will cover the Parker-Gray School, the Alexandria Black History Museum (originally a segregated library), and the home and offices of Samuel Tucker — a local civil rights leader.

The tour is free, but advance registration is required.

A Black Lives Matter protest on King Street in Old Town on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street) is reopening this weekend with a new exhibit dedicated to Alexandria’s response to the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The new exhibit is called “The Legacy of George Floyd: the Black Lives Remembered Collection.” The formerly virtual exhibit is set to premiere at a reception on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 2-5 p.m.

“The Office of Historic Alexandria invites you to the reopening of the Alexandra Black History Museum and the new exhibition documenting the community’s response to the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing work of preserving the names of those Black lives lost and ensuring that they are remembered,” the museum said in a release.

A presentation on the upcoming exhibit highlighted photographs from vigils around Alexandria and collected statements from those involved in the protests and local officials.

According to the exhibit’s website:

The Alexandria Black History Museum is dedicated to not only collecting the story of Alexandria’s past, but also documenting its present for future generations. Following the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the Alexandria Black History Museum put out a call to the community to record their feelings, thoughts, artwork, photographs, and objects that would help us to document the legacy of the Alexandria community’s response to this tragedy and the wave of peaceful protests and vigils that followed. The objects and digital photographs that we received from the local community form the basis of the Museum’s new Black Lives Remembered Collection.


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.

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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