Backyard History

Celebrate Black History Month With Historic Alexandria

African-American Heritage Park (Photo: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Throughout February, Historic Alexandria, is encouraging residents to take part in events to celebrate Black History Month. This year, Historic Alexandria is highlighting a number of virtual events. The summaries below are included in a recent press release.

Symposium: The Ramsey Homes

Feb. 11: 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.  FREE!

This virtual symposium is a case study of the innovative construction of the World War II era Ramsey Homes and their African American residents. Topics include: the history of public housing and Ramsey Homes; genealogy  of early residents; architecture and engineering; and the process of documenting construction techniques. The symposium will conclude with a virtual experience of the new Lineage on North Patrick Street. The symposium is being offered virtually via Zoom. Register for one or all three parts of the day through AlexandriaVa.Gov/BlackHistory.

Lecture: Hidden in Plain Sight: Moss Kendrix and the Enterprise to Sell Black Citizenship

Feb. 17: 7 p.m. $6

Dr. Brenna Wynn Greer will trace how Black public relations guru Moss Hyles Kendrix enlisted white corporate America in a campaign to redefine black citizenship after World War II. Dr. Greer will also examine how Kendrix and his work—so visible and so important in the early Cold War era—was almost lost to us. Dr. Greer is Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College, and her first book, “Represented: The Black Imagemakers Who Reimagined African American Citizenship” (University of Pennsylvania Press), is now available for purchase. To purchase lecture tickets, visit AlexandriaVa.Gov/Shop.

Concert: Washington Revels Jubilee Voices

Feb. 20: 2-3 p.m. $6

The Washington Revels Jubilee Voices 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. Established in 2010, the group now performs regularly throughout the Washington DC area, singing, sharing, and learning the stories of the people in those communities. To purchase concert tickets, visit AlexandriaVa.Gov/Shop.

Lecture: You Will Find it Handy—Traveling Safely in the Old Dominion With The Green Book

Feb. 24 :4 p.m.  $6

As automobile travel increased in the 20th century, refusal of service and other threats made travel extremely difficult for African Americans. In response, Victor H. Green began publishing “The Green Book,” which provided a safety net with its listings for services such as garages, barbers, beauty parlors, hotels and guest houses, tailors, restaurants, and drug stores that welcomed African Americans. Susan Hellman, Principal Planner with the City of Alexandria Planning & Zoning Historic Preservation division, will explore Virginia businesses listed in The Green Book during this lecture. To purchase lecture tickets, visit AlexandriaVa.Gov/Shop.

Learn more about Alexandria’s African-American History by visiting

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. Alexandria was also an important center of the slave trade during the early nineteenth century. Alexandria’s port and market in the slave trade and Alexandria’s economy would suffer greatly if slavery were outlawed. During the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of blacks were transported to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and other areas in the deep-South where cotton production demanded more and more labor. No symposium or lecture about the how the Alexandria government-and future democrats-condoned, approved slavery and fought to continue the practice?
    I will expect nothing about the dark history of Alexandria in this ‘good news’ rag of yours.

Back to top button