Roberts Chapel Methodist Church

Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article, “If These Walls Could Talk – Roberts Chapel Methodist Church”.

Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church

It is remarkable to research an African American Church’s history that goes back beyond the Civil War. This old Alexandria’s Church has records in old ledge books. One can feel the texture of the old books and see the markings of the old ink quill pen that recorded members’ activities in Church. The near perfect penmanship that once was considered the penmanship of literary individuals is displayed throughout the Church’s ledge books.

In Alexandria, you will find one of the oldest African American’s Methodist Church that has been around since 1832. You will find this Church on Washington Street where the view of Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) seems to be tucked behind shady trees that could slightly block your view at 606 South Washington Street. This Church congregation started at Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia prior to the 1830.

The free and enslaved African Americans left Trinity and started their own Church. The Church records of Roberts Memorial UMC speaks of the who’s who among African Americans in early days of Alexandria when the Church was known as Roberts Chapel. The Church has gone through several name changes from Davis Chapel to Roberts Chapel Methodist Church to its present name.

If you want to read more about Roberts Memorial UMC, check out this article, “If These Walls Could Talk – Roberts Chapel Methodist Church,” at the Alexandria Gazette Packet on pages 5 and 8 at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2021/050521/Alexandria.pdf.

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Behind the Scene with Harold Bell, “Inside Sports”

Harold Bell

Mr. Harold Bell has been involved in sports for all of his teenage and adult life.  He got his start as a host of sport talk show from legendary Petey Greene and Bobby Bennett. By 1972, Station WOOK-AM a black oriented station hired him as a talk show host, allowing him to express his strong opinions with no filer. The show was christened “Inside Sports,” the tag given to him by his wife, Hattie. Harold’s “Inside Sports,” ran from 1972 through the 1990s.

You can read more about Harold Bell’s career in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper dated April 14, 2021, on page 11 at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2021/041421/Alexandria.pdf

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Behind the Story, “The Women Who Sparked His Career – Dr. Michael D. Casey

MichaelCaseyPhotoDr. Michael D. Casey grew up in the Seminary Community in the 1950s. Throughout his life, he had the support of several women. One particular woman, who enlightened Michael was the former Mayor of Alexandria, Allison Silberberg.

Allison and Michael worked together on the Alexandria Economic Opportunities Commission. This was a city and state advisory platform from which they advocated for low income families on myriad issues, including employment, health care and affordable housing.

Dr. Casey expressed his work experience with Ms. Silberberg by saying, “it was a rewarding experience, and it was a pivotal life experience, as her indefatigable can-do spirit inspired me to become even more involved in community service, including with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA). I continue to serve on the SFA Board of Trustees, alongside strong women movers and shakers who make a huge difference in Alexandria each day.

Ms. Silberberg’s persevering sprit, community caring and activism made an indelible impression on me, and compelled me to continue to advocate for our Alexandria residents and student communities to this day.

I credit Ms. Silberberg — directly and indirectly — with innumerable critical improvements in Alexandria, Virginia.”

Dr. Casey had other women who made a profound positive impact on his career.

You can read the rest of the story about Dr. Casey titled, “The Women Who Sparked His Career – Dr. Michael D. Casey in the Alexandria Gazette at

http://www.alexandriagazette.com/news/2021/apr/06/other-alexandria-women-who-sparked-his-career-dr-m/

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Passing The History On – Lois Diggs Davis

lois special 1 Alexandria, Virginia is a unique place that is rich in history. The history in Alexandria goes back beyond the birth of George Washington who frequently visited Alexandria during his lifetime. Many African Americans in Alexandria have made many contributions to Alexandria through their labor, artisans, religion, educators, businesspersons, government employees and politicians.

Some of these African Americans in Alexandria have history that go back to the Colonial Period, and a great deal of the African Americans have family members who came to Alexandria during the Civil War. One of those African American families that came to Alexandria prior to the Civil War was the Diggs’ Family.

You can read the article on Lois Diggs Davis titled, “Passing The History On” in the Alexandria Gazette at this link: 

The Other Alexandria: Passing The History On – Lois Diggs Davis (connectionnewspapers.com)

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