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.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are providing resources through project-based learning 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.
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).
What is the Historical Marker Project?
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.
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.
Collecting Black/African American Stories
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.
Want to research Black/African American history? Fairfax County Library has compiled a list of resources to help.
Honoring Black/African American Contributions and History
Celebrating and Educating: Our Significant African American Culture
Fairfax 275 Celebration - Gum Springs Museum
Fairfax 275 Celebration - Laurel Grove School for African-American Children
Lessons from Leaders: Captain Felicia Barnes, FCFRD’s First African-American Female Safety Officer