Brenman Award Night

Posted November 1, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Cemetery

Char Bah and Lawrence Carter

Char Bah and Lawrence Carter

From left - Mumini, Char, Maimoona and Dwayne

From left – Mumini, Char, Maimoona and Dwayne

Reading of the Proclamation

Reading of the Proclamation

On October 22, I received the 2013 Alexandria, Virginia “Ben Brenman Archaeology Award”. The award was for my work on the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery.

Language from the Proclamation

Language from the Proclamation

The Mayor of Alexandria and the Alexandria City Council provided the awardees with their “Proclamation” and a special design plaque from Archaeology.

Several people came out to support me including my husband, daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. McCrae, Mr. James E. Henson, Christa Wattres, Karen White, and Mr. Lawrence Carter.

I have provided pictures from the event that Mr. Lawrence Carter provided.

Winner of the 2013 “Ben Brenman Archaeology Award”

Posted October 1, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Cemetery, Home

I am glad to share with you that I have been selected as one of the recipients of the 2013 Alexandria, Virginia “Ben Brenman Archaeology Awards”. This award is for my work on the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery. I will be receiving this award on October 22, 2013, by the Mayor of Alexandria and the Alexandria City Council.

The award is not just about my work in finding descendants of the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery, but it is about the descendants who allow me to research their families; and document their ancestors’ role in American History. For all of the descendants, I thank you for allowing me into your lives. I hope all of you will join me when I receive this award for all of us:

Date: October 22, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: City Council Chambers at City Hall
301 King Street, 2nd Floor
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

This event is open to the public. I am inviting anyone who wants to attend. Thank you.

Searching for Descendants of the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery

Posted September 2, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Cemetery, Home

Over 1700 African Americans are buried at the “Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery” located at Church and Washington Street in Alexandria, VA. These African Americans were contraband of the Civil War. They fought, walked, and ran from their slave owners to areas that provided them safety. Freed African Americans were also at risk during the Civil War and many of them found the same safety net as the slaves. For more information on the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery, go to the “The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery” site at

In April 2008, the City of Alexandria, Virginia asked me to assist them in locating descendants of the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery.

The City wants to recognize the descendants of the Freedmen Cemetery. Please go to the Alexandria Archaeology Museum’s web site that discusses the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial at

As of 2008, I have identified the descendants of over one hundred people who are buried at the Freedmen Cemetery. I am still looking for descendants. If you have more than four generations of your family from Alexandria, Virginia and your surname is on this list, please contact me through my blog e-mail address The City of Alexandria is building the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial. It is going to be a great Ceremony honoring the former Contrabands and their Descendants.

The Ceremony will be in the Spring of 2014. If you want to be counted as a Descendant, please notify me. Thanks!

Our First Book Signing

Posted July 14, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Home, Uncategorized

The authors of “African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia:  Beacons of Light in the Twentieth Century” are having their first book signing on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Community Open House event at the Alexandria Black History Museum located 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm.  Books will be available for purchase.  You can contact the Alexandria Black History Museum at 703-746-4356.  Thanks!

Announcing a New Blog

Posted June 16, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Home

Tags: , , , , , ,

Authors of African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia Beacons of Light in the Twentieth Century

A new blog is available for the authors of a new book “African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia: Beacons of Light in the Twentieth Century.” Please visit their blog at Click on the different sections About, Contact Us, and Calendar of Events. Do not forget to order the book and come back to the blog for a book discussion. If you want to invite the authors for a lecture and book signing, go to “Contact Us” on their Blog and send an e-mail. Thanks!

Urgent Call to Save Carver Nursey School – William Thomas Post #129

Posted January 28, 2013 by cmb12
Categories: Education, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,


Carver Nursery School - William Thomas Post #129

Carver Nursery School – William Thomas Post #129

The Carver Nursery School could be demolished as soon as the month of February if the community does not intervene. The school was constructed during World War II through an Act of Congress to fund nursery schools so that parents of children could work in the war effort. The Carver Nursery appears to be the only one built specifically for African Americans. The building consisted of two classrooms with a playground on site. The playground is now the Hunter-Miller Park. Located in the Parker-Gray Neighborhood, the school was in the heart of a thriving Black business area at Queen and Fayette Streets.

The school would later become the William Thomas Post#129 of the American Legion and was the social hub of the neighborhood.

Two and a half years ago, a local developer who then applied for a demolition permit purchased the property. The Parker-Gray Board of Architectural Review and the City Council approved the demolition. The developer has already built eleven houses in the neighborhood and recently put eight condominiums in a former laundry building nearby. The eight condominiums (condos) add character and blend in with the neighborhood. The demolition of the Carver School runs contrary to the purpose of the Parker-Gray Historic District.

Historical Facts:

The Parker-Gray Historic District was created in 1984 and one of its main purposes was to protect the area from development pressures that could arise from the building of the King Street and Braddock Metro Stations. The stations are within blocks of the Carver Nursery School. The plan in 1984 was to nominate the neighborhood for the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, the City of Alexandria conducted a survey and at that time, the Carver Nursery School was one of many structures singled out as having contributed character to the neighborhood. The two Parker-Gray Schools had already been demolished. The threat of the demolition of Carver School is a test to the preservation of buildings that have played a part in the history of Black Alexandria. This building is the only known building of its type still existing and was listed on Preservation Virginia’s eleven most endangered properties list of 2010.

Saving Carver Nursery School Building:

There is only one option for saving the building and that is for the City of Alexandria to intervene. Ask the City to temporarily halt the demolition so that the community can have a voice and suggest some alternatives. To help, please e-mail City Council at

You can also contact Boyd Walker from the Greater Alexandria Preservation Alliance at to get a copy of the petition that is now circulating, and help gather signatures.  Time is running out, so please help us tell the whole story of the Parker-Gray Neighborhood.

Boyd Walker is a community activist who started the Greater Alexandria Preservation Alliance five years ago, to be an advocacy organization for Historic Preservation in Alexandria.  The purpose of the Alliance is to work beyond Alexandria’s borders with state and local partners and to make Alexandria a greater place.  He is a native of Alexandria who grew up on the “Southside.”  He was a co-founder of Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, now known as Friends of the Alexandria Waterfront and a recent candidate for Alexandria City Council.

Mr. Lawrence P. Robinson, Alexandria’s Dedicated Photographer and Community Leader

Posted December 31, 2012 by cmb12
Categories: Black People of Alexandria, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,
Mr. Lawrence P. Robinson

Mr. Lawrence P. Robinson

Mr. Lawrence (Robbie) P. Robinson migrated to Alexandria in 1968 from Centreville, Virginia. He demitted his membership from the Bull Run Lodge #698 and joined the Alexandria Elks Lodge #48. Robbie had been a member in Bull Run Lodge #698 since 1953. He also became a member of the Alexandria Universal Lodge #1 Free and Accepted Prince Hall Masons as well as a member of the Alexandria Departmental Progressive Club Inc., a private African American club.

Robbie, as his friends fondly called him, immediately advanced through the ranks of these organizations to leadership roles. He implemented educational programs through their Education Departments, and he led several oratorical contest contestants. In each of those organizations, he was elected to the highest level of leadership.

He provided his photography skills to these organizations. Robbie documented the history of those organizations through pictures. His forty-year plus span of photography, he has taken thousands and thousands of pictures of the organizations that he belonged to in Alexandria.

Robbie was born as Lawrence P. Robinson in Centreville, VA in April 1930. He graduated from the Manassas Regional Industrial High School in 1947. His family dates back to James (Gentleman Jim) Robinson, who was born in 1799 as a slave. His master freed Gentleman Jim and he was listed in 1825 as a freed black man. Robbie came from a proud family with a long prospectus history in Prince William and Fairfax, Virginia.

Prior to Mr. Robinson’s migration to Alexandria, Virginia, he was a racecar driver, building his own racecars and engines, winning almost 500 first place trophies. He won the National Hot Rod Association East Coast Championship in E Gas Class (highly modified engines in 1967). He continued for a couple of years competing at racetracks from New York to North Carolina.

He worked for the Federal government at Cameron Station and at the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir, VA prior to his retirement with 50 years of services.

Alexandria’s African American history has been made richer by the dedicated work of Robbie given to the City of Alexandria. He was a member of the first Advisory Board for Charles Houston Recreation Center. Other City boards, Committees or Commissions on which he served were: Alexandria Hospital Finance Committee, Alexandria Health Services Corporation at the Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross, Alexandria Residential Youth Service Board, Alexandria Olympic Boys & Girls Club, Alexandria Young Men’s Christian Association, the Alexandria Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where he was elected to serve as the Chairman, Alexandria United Way Allocations Review Panel, Alexandria Forum and Alexandria Concerned Black Citizens. He served on the board of directors of Project Discovery-Alexandria for six years and he is still an honorary member of the board. He continues to be a member of the City of Alexandria Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Planning Committee. He has served for 38 years.

In 2009, Robbie and his wife, Van moved to Prince William County in their new retirement home. At the age of 82 years old, Robbie still comes back to Alexandria and provides his time for the organizations and the City of Alexandria.

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