Neighborhood and Community Services are collecting stories of the Black/African American experience to preserve for future generations and build a racial history timeline to increase visibility of Black/African American contributions to Fairfax County’s History.
The Historical Highway Markers Map Tour includes each marker's name and text, a map of it's location and images related to the maker. To view a full sized image, place your cursor over the image and select the double arrow in the upper right corner of the image. You can navigate by using the arrows to the left and right of the image or by clicking on any thumbnail image.
Want to research Black/African American history? We have compiled a list of resources to help.
In partnership with George Mason University, the Fairfax County History Commission created the African American History Inventory to aid in researching the histories of African American communities in the county.
The Virginia Room research guide includes books, school yearbooks, oral histories, manuscript collections, photographs and subject files on local Black/African American history. The guide is periodically updated with additional resources.
The Gum Springs Museum website offers online exhibits about this community, founded by West Ford, a freed slave.
Getting Students Involved through Historical Markers
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) developed the Untold Stories of Fairfax County Black / African American History project-based learning experience, providing resources to support students in researching untold local stories of Black/African American people and groups who have impacted our community. These resources are available to teachers and students within and outside of FCPS.
The Historical Marker Project empowers students as historians who can be a part of shining light on the past with the opportunity to submit proposals advocating why these stories should be shared with the public as new historical markers. Through this project, students will use Communicator and Collaborator skills of the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate to engage in inquiry to recognize the voices, experiences, and achievements of people in our past whose stories have not been elevated or shared.
In 2021, The History Commission created an inventory of 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. Beginning in 2022, the county is asking current and former Fairfax County residents to share their life stories that will be preserved at the Fairfax County Public Libraries for future generations to research and explore.
The collecting and cataloging of these stories are expected to continue and expand through the years as the history and diversity of Fairfax County is documented and preserved.
“Through the One Fairfax policy, we are committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable county. While our existing historical markers and monuments around the county reflect some of our stories, there is an opportunity to expand these stories through the joint Fairfax County/FCPS Historical Markers Contest.” Fairfax County Supervisor Dalia A. Palchik (Providence District) and Fairfax County School Board Member Karl Frisch (Providence District).
This is a joint project among Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, Public Schools, History Commission, and Neighborhood and Community Services. The goal of the project is to capture, communicate, and preserve the Black/African American experience throughout Fairfax County’s history.
Historical Highway Markers
Fairfax County's Historical Marker Program began in January 1998 when the History Commission approved a design and agreed to fund a distinctive marker for Fairfax County. Many of the requests for historical markers are initiated by the public or by proffers from developers.
The Historical Marker project is open to all K-12 (public, private, home-schooled etc.) students, classrooms and community youth groups. Students will have an opportunity to submit suggested topics for Historical Markers that commemorate an event, person or location of historical significance of those who are underrepresented in Fairfax County. The Historical Marker Project will initially focus on the Black/African American experience.