Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “Coming Home to Old Alexandria”– dated July 25 – 31, 2019.
Sherrin’s mother, Helen L. Hamilton Bell
Many African Americans migrated from Alexandria, Virginia for different reasons. The Franklin family migrated early in the 19th century to New York and the District of Columbia; later they migrated to New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
Sherrin Hamilton Bell, the 2nd great-granddaughter of Harry G. Franklin, who was born in Philadelphia was on a quest to find out about her 2nd great-grandfather. Harry left Alexandria over 100-years ago when he was buried at the Methodist Cemetery in 1901. Sherrin makes her visit to Alexandria after 118-years from the death of her 2nd great-grandfather.
When she came back home to Alexandria, she found that her family had a rich history that they left behind in Virginia. She was able to walk through the Cemetery where Harry G. Franklin and his grandparents were buried. She attended Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church where her ancestors attended in the 1800s. It was like she was walking back in time when she visited the Freedmen’s Cemetery that Harry’s great grandfather buried two of his family members in the 1860s. The Cemetery is located on Washington Street walking distant from the Church her family attended.
Coming home to Alexandria brought Sherrin a place of origin. A place that her family had talked about. A place that her family had been freed people of color as far back as the 1700s.
For more about Sherrin’s journey home, check out the article “Coming Home to Old Alexandria” July 25-31, 2019 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet on page 9 at