Summary of Three Alexandria Gazette Articles in December 2020

Char McCargo Bah

When an elder leave this world, he takes his history library with him. Mr. James E. Henson died on December 13, 2020 in Alexandria, Virginia. He shared his knowledge that he gained from his elders with others. I was one of those individuals who he shared a great deal of history of what he knew and what he gained from his elders.

Now Mr. Henson has joined his elders and left the rest of us to inspire generation after us. He left us a priceless gift of self and history. He made room for us to do the same. He was one of a kind. Many will miss Mr. Henson.

His viewing with be on January 7, 2021 at Green Funeral Home at 814 Franklin Street between the hours of 2-8 pm. You can read his story by Jeanne Theismann at

The second article is on one of Parker-Gray High School’s finest women runners, Marian Stanfield a 1964 graduate of Parker-Gray High School.

On the same page as Marion Stanfield, is the third article about, ‘Parker-Gray Alumni 40 Plus Years of Giving Scholarships’ monies. The PG Alumni recently announced that they are retiring the organization so this will be the last official scholarships given out to new recipients. You can find these articles on page 14 at –

I would like to wish all my readers, Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward in continuing to bring you, local stories of African Americans in Alexandria who made accomplishments and a difference in their community.

I would also like to thank all the individuals who took the time in 2020 to write my editor about the stories that I wrote. I truly feel grateful that I have been able to highlight Alexandria African Americans’ accomplishments. I deeply appreciated that my readers enjoyed taking this history tour with me in learning so many stories of the forgotten histories of our community. Thank you and be safe!


“Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”

Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”– dated December 9, 2020.

Gale Brooks-Ogden

Gale Arlene Brooks Ogden is her family’s historian. She played a major role in providing information on her family who are connected to the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery. Her family has been in Alexandria since the Civil War.

The article that was in the Alexandria Gazette focused on Gale’s great-grandmother, Cassie Reddick Whitmore. Although, Gale never had a chance to meet Cassie, she collected family stories and researched Cassie’s life. Cassie was dead almost two decades before Gale was born.

Through Gale’s research, she was able to know a lot about Cassie’s life. Cassie had the strong fierce spirit of her parents. Both of Cassie’s parents were born in enslaved and they were bold enough to make it from Hartford, North Carolina and Loudoun, Virginia during the civil war to Alexandria.

Cassie also seek freedom just like her parents. She wanted the freedom to cast her vote. With the passing of the 19th Amendment, Cassie cast her vote in the November 2, 1920 Election for the presidential candidate Warren G. Harding. Cassie made history and that history was passed down for 100 years to her great-granddaughter Gail.

Correction to the Alexandria Gazette article on page 6, Cassie Reddick Whitmore. Correction on the first line it should be 19th Amendment.   In the seven paragraph, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was 32nd President and not the 39th. 

Check out this article on “Getting Ready to Cast My Vote – Cassie Reddick Whitmore”– dated December 9, 2020 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet on page 6 at

They Served Their Country – Davis and Shanklin Families

Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “They Served Their Country – Davis and Shanklin Families”– dated November 26, 2020.

Sammy Shanklin shared the stories of his family military careers. Sammy’s family came to Alexandria prior to the Civil War from King George, Virginia. The Shanklin and Davis families have made many contributions to their community in the last 150-years especially their military careers.

In the article, you will read about the Army services of Chester Leroy Davis and his brother William “Billy” Davis, but there were others in their family that served in the military.

Gwendolyn Shanklin

Edgar D. Shanklin who served in the Unites States Navy during World War II. Edgar was married to Helen Jones and they had several children. Their daughter, Gwendolyn Arlene Shanklin followed in her father’s footstep. She enlisted in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1977.

Check out this article on “They Served Their Country – Davis and Shanklin Families”– dated November 26, 2020 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet on page 12 at by clicking this link:

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