This is my fourth story about African Americans living in the Seminary area. I look forward in writing more articles about African Americans who lived, worked and raised their children in Alexandria.
Before Seminary/West End was incorporated into Alexandria, it was part of Falls Church in Fairfax, Virginia. The African Americans who lived in that area had a unique life compared to the African Americans in the City of Alexandria. Many of their families owned their own property. They were self-contained as far as their own school, their stores, their churches and their culture.
The City of Alexandria was indeed a City but the Seminary community prior to becoming incorporated into Alexandria was considered rural. In all appearances, Seminary was a farming community with livestock.
Frances Colbert Clements Terrell had a wonderful childhood growing up in the Seminary area of Alexandria. You can read more about her childhood life in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper dated April 29, 2020 on page 6 and 7, titled “What A Wonderful Childhood: Frances Colbert Clements Terrell” at
I was privilege in having a conversation with the 78 year-old Leroy Council of Philadelphia who revealed his deep love for his mother, Margaret and the history she shared with him about her life in Alexandria.
His mother, Margaret was born in Alexandria on April 19, 1917. Margaret’s mother came to Alexandria from Orange, Virginia to have her. After she was born, her mother returned to Orange County with her daughter, Margaret.
Margaret’s grandparents, Phillip and Alice Perry Campbell raised her. Out of their great love for their grandchild, Phillip and Alice moved to Alexandria in 1922 so that Margaret could get a better education.
Margaret left Alexandria after the death of her grandparents. She moved to Philadelphia to be with her mother. She came back to Alexandria to get married. She raised her children in Philadelphia but kept her close ties with friends and family in Alexandria. She never missed an opportunity to return to Alexandria to be with family and her childhood friends.
You can read Margaret’s story in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper that was published on March 30th at: