1920 Parker-Gray Class

Front Row Left to Right: Reverend A.W. Adkins, Henry T. White, Laura Dorsey, Rozier D. Lyles and James E. Howard. Back Left Row: Mayme Anderson, Margaret Young, Florence Murray, Harriet E. Thornton, Susie Madden and Sarah D. Gray

Prior to 1920, a group of concerned African American citizens which included Reverend Samuel B. Ross, Samuel Tucker, Henry Taylor, Blanche Parker Taylor and the alumni from the Hallowell and Snowden Schools pressured the City of Alexandria for a new school building.  By 1920, the African American community had a new school located at Alfred and Wythe Streets.  The school was named after two former principals at Snowden and Hallowell Schools, John F. Parker and Sarah A. Gray.

The First Faculty at Parker-Gray School included one principal and ten teachers in 1920. 

Mr. Henry T. White – Principal – taught 7th grade

Reverend Andrew Warren (A.W.) Adkins – taught 4th and 5th grades

Mrs. Mayme Anderson – taught 5th grade

Miss Laura A.  Dorsey – taught 1st grade

Mrs. Sarah D. Gray – taught 3rd grade

Mr. James E. Howard – taught 3rd grade

Mr. Rozier D. Lyles – taught 6th grade

Mrs. Susie Madden – taught 2nd grade

Mrs. Florence Murray – taught 2nd grade

Mrs. Harriet E. Thornton – taught 5th grade

Mrs. Margaret Young – taught 1st grade

Welcome

I developed this site because of the love I have for African American (Black) History of Alexandria, Virginia.   I learned very little Black history when I was growing up in the late 1950s and the early 1970s.  The history I remember about Alexandria is about our first President, George Washington and his connection to the City of Alexandria.

Mr. Roger Anderson, a City employee, sponsored a Black History tour of Old Town Alexandria in 1985.  I was amazed by the rich history Mr. Anderson shared with us.  I wanted to know why Alexandria’s Black history was not included in the public school curriculum when I was growing up.  Mr. Anderson said that many of the teachers and the Black community did not know about the contributions African Americans made in Alexandria.

I have had many job opportunities since my first Black History tour in Alexandria.  I have been a volunteer genealogist with the Alexandria Black History Museum for more than 20 years.  I served as a board member on “The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery,” from 1997 – 2002.  Then in 2008, I was given a rare opportunity that many genealogists and historians would relish.  The City of Alexandria Archaeology Department asked me to locate descendants of a civil war era Freedmen Cemetery where 1200 people were buried between 1863 to 1868.

This web site blog is an outgrowth of my genealogical research projects in Alexandria that cover the period from 1860 to 1965.  If you are a native Alexandrian, a tourist or a lover of history, visit my web site regularly, and I am sure you will find quite a bit on African American history in Alexandria that you were not aware of.  The site includes a Home page, an About Us page, a Black People of Alexandria page, and other pages like Churches, Education, Businesses, Neighborhoods, Cemeteries and Lectures.  Better still, visit Alexandria, Virginia, walk the Streets that George Washington walked on, and check out “The Other Alexandria” that the African Americans left behind.

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