Fairfax County Celebrates the Black/African American Experience with New Historical Marker Project, Story Collection and Project-Based Learning

Published on
02/01/2022
David R. Pinn Community Center Historical Marker

 

The Black/African American Experience Project is a collaboration involving the Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), History Commission and Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS). The goal is to capture, communicate, and preserve the Black/African American experience throughout Fairfax County’s history.

There are three parts of this effort:

  1. Collecting stories
  2. Project-based learning
  3. Historical markers

Collecting Stories

An effort is underway to increase the visibility of Black/African American experiences in the county by sharing oral and written history. Neighborhood and Community Services is asking current and former county residents to share their stories. These stories will help build a racial history timeline, support project-based learning opportunities at FCPS and enrich future generations as the county charts a more equitable future through One Fairfax.

NCS is looking for stories about family, community, church (faith community), cultural, educational, justice, innovation or housing experiences. Stories are being collected online and in-person. Those interested can complete the Black/African American Experiences submission form online or have their oral history recorded at NCS clubhouses - email CollectingStories@fairfaxcounty.gov to set up an appointment.

 

Project-Based Learning

FCPS will provide resources to support students in researching untold local stories of Black/African Americans and groups who have impacted our community. The Historical Marker Project is available to all FCPS social studies teachers and published online for equitable access to students who are not enrolled in FCPS.

The Historical Marker Project will engage students as historians; they will shine a light on the past by advocating for stories to be shared with the public as new historical markers. Students will also focus on communication and collaboration--Portrait of a Graduate skills--by engaging in inquiry to recognize the voices, experiences, and achievements of Black/African Americans from Fairfax County.

 

Historical Marker Project

The Historical Marker Project will initially focus on the Black/African American experience in the county. All students from K-12 (public, private, homeschooled, etc.), classrooms and community youth groups can submit topics for new historical markers through April 30, 2022. Historical markers commemorate an event, person or location of historical significance within the county. An online submission form , instructions, and scoring guidelines are available on the county’s Historical Marker website.

 

History Commission’s African American Inventory

Students and others can access a new inventory of Black/African American history completed in 2021. The new inventory will be available on the History Commission website and include Black/African American residents’ houses of worship, schools, homes, communities, and events to document Black/African American culture and their contributions to the history of the county.

 

Background

In July 2021, FCPS announced it was partnering with the Board of Supervisors to host the inaugural Fairfax County Historical Markers Project. The project’s purpose is to reveal narratives and oral histories of Fairfax County’s African American communities, whose rich history, culture, and accomplishments are underrepresented in history books and not fully understood in relation to the county’s transformation over time.

County Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay; Supervisors Dalia A. Palchik, Rodney L. Lusk, and Kathy L. Smith; and School Board Member Karl Frisch spearheaded the Historical Marker Project. The new project aligns with the Boards’ joint One Fairfax policy to intentionally consider equity when making policies or delivering programs and services.

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