Black/African American Historical Marker Project Unveils First Marker Submitted by Students

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Lillian Blackwell Historical Marker group photo


In a significant step towards acknowledging the contributions of African Americans, we unveiled the first Black/African American Historical Project marker dedicated to civil rights activist Lillian Blackwell at Oakton High School on June 1.

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors initiated the Black/African American Historical Marker Project to help ensure a more comprehensive and inclusive telling of county’s diverse history. This is a joint project among Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Public Schools, History Commission, and Neighborhood and Community Services. The project aligns with the county's One Fairfax policy to intentionally consider equity when making policies or delivering programs and services.Lillian Blackwell

Local youth were invited to nominate people and places significant to the African American community for the new markers, which commemorate an event, person or location of historical significance. Blackwell’s name was submitted for the project by Meron Fikru, Delano Telford and Maddie Haag, 11th and 12th grade students from South County High School. They participated in the reading of her newly placed marker. Their involvement highlights the project's goal of educating and engaging young people in local history.

Blackwell, who passed away in 1996, was celebrated for her courageous stand against segregated public spaces in the county. Her son, Preston Blackwell, shared personal stories about his mother's determination and spirit, which were instrumental in changing the landscape of civil rights in the area.

This event marks the first of five markers to be installed across the county, each aiming to shed light on the African American experience and its integral role in shaping the county.

Black/African American Historical Marker Project Kickoff

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