Mrs. Helen Lumpkins Robinson Day was a well-known teacher at Parker-Gray School and at Charles Houston Elementary School. She was born in Alexandria, VA in 1905. She was a trailblazer in advocating for a daycare center for African Americans. She was on many committees and raised money for many disadvantage African Americans.
“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.
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.
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
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: