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Gaming at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (image via Gadsby’s Tavern Museum/Office of Historic Alexandria)

If you’re looking for something to do tonight (Friday), Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is hosting a 21-and-over “Tavern Games Night“.

The event is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum at 134 North Royal Street.

“Gadsby’s Tavern Museum invites you to step back in time and relive the spirited ambiance of 18th-century taverns at ‘Tavern Games Night’ on March 1,” a release said. “Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of historical gaming as Gadsby’s Tavern Museum brings the 18th-century ‘sporting’ culture to life. Join us for an engaging presentation on the gaming customs of the era, followed by the opportunity to try your hand at a variety of authentic 18th-century games.”

Tickets are priced at $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. Attendees must be 21 and older.

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Alice Ball, who created a treatment for leprosy (image via University of Hawaii)

March is Women’s History Month and there are events across the city discussing women who helped shape Alexandria.

Events include a lecture by Jane Plitt, Director of the National Center of Women’s Innovations, on how women shaped the world of healthcare, from curing leprosy to developing cataract eye surgery, but it took years for their role in the field to be recognized.

“She will be sharing the buried stories of a number of women who were innovators in health care including Dr. Patricia Bath (cataract eye surgery), Dr. Katalin Kariko (mRNA development), Dr. Svetlana Mojsov (Ozempic), Chemist Alice Ball (cure for leprosy), and Drs. Doudna and Charpentier (genome editing technology),” the event listing said. “These women fundamentally altered health for so many of us, and yet struggled to be recognized for their roles.”

The lecture is scheduled for Sunday, March 10, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

A tour later that month at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax Street) will examine the role of midwives in the city beyond just delivering babies.

Events include:

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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.

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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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Gaming at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (image via Gadsby’s Tavern Museum/Office of Historic Alexandria)

Care to try your hand at some tavern games by candlelight?

The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (134 N. Royal Street) is hosting a night of drinks and games at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19.

Tickets are $25 and include one drink ticket. The event is recommended for those 21 and older.

According to a newsletter from the Office of Historic Alexandria:

Taverns were a hot spot for ‘sporting’ culture — some taverns even lived and died by what games that had on offer! Enjoy drinks, a brief presentation about 18th-century gaming culture, and the opportunity to try your hand at a variety of 18th-century games.

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N. Early Street (image via Google Maps)

Earlier this week, Alexandria’s City Council approved the introduction and first reading of legislation to change the names of streets currently honoring Confederate leaders.

The legislation, the first fruit of a year-long effort to start a renaming process for streets celebrating leaders of the Confederacy, heads to a final vote on Saturday, Jan. 20.

While the Council was unanimously in favor of the proposal, there remained some disagreement on the dais on the efficacy of renaming vs rededication. Early Street, for example, would be rededicated from honoring Confederate General Jubal Early to honoring ‘Early’ the time concept.

“I’m less supportive of ‘Early in the morning'” said City Council member Alyia Gaskins. “I think we should recognize people when we have the chance.”

Wilson said rededications of streets to match the current names are a missed opportunity.

“I have decidedly mixed feelings on the rededication concept,” said Wilson. “With the exception of Quantrill, I imagine you can come up with a rededication for pretty much every street on the list… but my initial reaction is rededication seems like squandering some of the efforts here.”

While North Breckinridge Place would be renamed for Harriet Jacobs  — one of the few streets in the city to use someone’s first and last name in the street — Forrest Street, Jordan Street and Early Street would all keep the names mostly or entirely intact, with the tribute in the name being rededicated. Forrest Street would be renamed to Forest Street, losing an R and its dedication to Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

City Council member John Chapman said rededication offers a middle ground to build community support in what has been an occasionally divisive process.

“Rededication pulls the community to get support,” Chapman said. “The changes don’t totally wipe away the name, they mold that name to be something a lot different.”

Chapman said the pushback on changing every name honoring a Confederate leader would be significant, and taking rededication off the table would signal that the city isn’t interested in the community input. Rededication, Chapman noted, is also less of a hassle for residents of those streets.

Image via Google Maps

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Searching for Truth in the Garden from Gonzaga High School in D.C. is a new traveling exhibition at Freedom House Museum until April 15, 2023 (via City of Alexandria)

A new temporary exhibit at Freedom House Museum until April documents the life of a teenager enslaved at Washington Seminary in D.C.

Searching for Truth in the Garden” reveals a story of Gabriel, a 13-year-old boy who was enslaved at the school — later renamed Gonzaga College High School — in 1829.

The research was conducted by seven Gonzaga students and Georgetown University history professor Adam Rothman, who started the project in 2016. Rothman was speaking to students about his work with Georgetown’s Working Group on slavery when a student asked about connections between the school and slavery. Rothman invited students to research the question at Georgetown, which they did in the summers of 2017 and 2018.

“Their work shows how students can be inspired to go beyond textbooks to take a deeper dive into our history and bring to light the untold stories of the American historical narrative,” said Audrey Davis, director of the city’s  African American History Division. “With Gabriel, we learn about the horrors of the domestic slave trade, and tragic life of one enslaved 13-year-old boy.”

According to the city, the group studied accounting books, written histories, enrollment records, and other original documents related to the schools, including the sale of 272 slaves by the Jesuits in 1838.

The project also inspired an ancestry project with Georgetown University.

“According to In 1838, Maryland’s Jesuit priests sold hundreds of men, women, and children to Southern plantations to raise money for the construction of Georgetown University,” Georgetown University said. ” Though they faced incredible hardship, most didn’t perish. They married and raised children. Today, more than 8,000 of their descendants have been located through genealogical research. Use this site to search for an ancestor and to hear the stories of the descendants.”

Gonzaga history teacher Ed Donnellan helped in the project.

“This exploration of what is a very painful past for Gonzaga and for the Society of Jesus is very important,” Donnellan said. “It’s my hope and prayer that this begins something in our community that helps us heal, helps us move forward, and helps us be honest about where we’ve come from and who we are today.”

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Potomac Yard ornament (image via Office of Historic Alexandria)

The Office of Historic Alexandria has debuted its annual holiday ornament: a solid brass decoration depicting Potomac Yard’s rail yard history.

The 3 x 2.75 inch ornament features a steam-powered locomotive in the foreground and the Capitol Building in the background. The ornament is $25.

The Potomac Yard Metro station opened earlier this year, though if the ornament were themed around the Metro station instead of the train yard, it would have been delayed multiple times due to internal issues.

The ornament comes with a collector’s box and a card detailing the history of Potomac Yard.

According to the city’s website:

Potomac Yard opened in 1906 on land that had been part of the C&O Canal only decades earlier. It was the largest rail yard on the east coast for years, shared between five railroad companies. Flanked by Richmond Highway and the Town of Potomac on one side and the Potomac River on the other, it connected the exchange of produce from the south and manufactured goods from the north. It closed in 1987, even though trains continued to travel through the former yard. The Potomac Yard Metro Station, which opened in 2023, is the most recent rail development on the site.

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Alexandria Archaeology Report Finder (image via City of Alexandria)

The days of digging through archives by address to find a historical report on a building in Alexandria could, themselves, be a thing of the past.

Anyone can now easily access archeological reports from around Alexandria via a new interactive map.

According to the city website:

The Alexandria Archaeology Report Finder (AARF) is an interactive map designed for exploring the archaeological and historical research conducted throughout the City of Alexandria. The map presents data spatially and works best when you have a specific location you want to research. Click the area you are interested in and look through the available reports listed on the left sidebar.

The AARF includes archaeological reports, documentary studies, journal articles and other research produced about different projects and locations. Some of the sites have reports listed but do not have links yet to the reports.

“Many of these sources contain detailed information about Alexandria’s past,” the city’s website said. “This map is meant to be an evolving repository for research on Alexandria’s past. As projects are completed and we continue to digitize our files, new reports will be added.”

Most of the reports in Old Town, Eisenhower Valley and Potomac Yard — though there are islands of reports in other neighborhoods around the city.

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