Happy Black History Month

“The Other Alexandria’s Column,” in the Alexandria Times Newspaper

For Black History Month, I would like to highlight two articles that I wrote. The second article written this month in February 2022; I wrote an article on Mr. Holland who was a teacher at Parker-Gray School. He wanted the students to have the same activities that were available in the white high schools. Mr. Holland volunteered as a coach and recruited other teachers until funding was allocated for a full-time coach.

Mr. Holland taught at Parker-Gray from 1933 to 1965. He retired in 1966 but did not stop teaching. He became a substitute teacher staying in the school system until he was 82-years old.

You can read my article on Mr. Holland in:

Behind the scenes of the article titled, “The Yesteryears of the Seminary Community.”

Left to right: Daniel G. Simms III, Carl Toms, Carla Toms, Brenda Terrell, Steven Simms & Charles Toms

The children and grandchildren of two Seminary families with the surname of Thomas and Simms got together to talk about their families from the Seminary community.

The cousins talked about how their families were raised on a lot of love and hard work. Their families left a long legacy among the descendants who raised their children on the same family principles. The Seminary community were all intermingle through kinfolks and marriages.

Steven (Steve) Simms, Charles Toms and Brenda Terrell fondly remembered their parents and grandparents of the Seminary community.

A detailed article is available in the Alexandria Times dated, November 11, 2021, titled, “The yesteryears of the Seminary community” at https://alextimes.com/2021/11/the-other-alexandria-the-yesteryears-of-the-seminary-community/.

Aaron Lamont Banks

Behind the scenes of the article titled, “A history of service”

Aaron Lamont Banks
Roscoe Banks, Sr.

Aaron Lamont Banks is very proud of the military service that his family has contributed to their County. His father, Roscoe came from humble beginnings. He was born in Danville, Virginia to Algie H. Banks and Fannie Elam.

Algie and Fannie migrated to Alexandria, Virginia after 1920. They had several children. Three of their children, Roscoe Sr., Marshall and Algie Jr enlisted in the military during World War II in 1943.

Roscoe Banks, Jr.

Roscoe Sr’s son, Roscoe Jr also went into the military. Roscoe Jr’s daughters and grandson entered the military as well.

You can find Aaron’s story in the Alexandria Times’ dated Thursday, October 21, 2021 on page 39-40. The article is titled, “A history of service.” You can read the article at

https://alextimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ALEXT102121_FULL.pdf.

Sarah A. Gray

Behind the scenes of the article titled, “Sarah A. Gray: Principal of Hallowell School.”

Sarah A. Gray was one of two people that Parker-Gray School was named after. She was a remarkable woman who was educated as well as a talented pianist and an organist.

Sarah A. Gray

Due to the death of her father, William Gray and two lawsuits, Sarah started experiencing health issues. Her father, William Gray died in 1891.

Sarah filed two lawsuits against Reverend Robert H. Robinson’s son, Reverend Robert B. Robinson, for slander. The other lawsuit was against her stepmother and relative, Alfred Peters concerning her father’s estate. Due to these heavy burdens, Sarah died in 1893 – just two years after her father.

A detailed article is available in the Alexandria Times dated, September 9, 2021 on, “Sarah A. Gray: Principal of Hallowell School on pages 17 and 18 at

https://alextimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/September-9-2021.pdf. A small correction in the article is that Sarah’s father died in 1891 not 1892. In addition, the above article incorrectly had Sarah teaching at the public school in 1871. She started in the 1870 school year.

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