Presented as a Public Service
Thomas Balch Library
Leesburg , Virginia
These twenty-four pages, covering the eras of slavery,
reconstruction, segregation, integration, and modern times,
are presented by the Thomas Balch Library as a resource for
Loudoun County. It is our hope that schools, publications,
the media, and organizations might use this chronology to
promote the rich heritage of African-Americans, who traditionally
have comprised more than twenty percent of the county’s
Eugene M. Scheel, historian and map-maker, wrote this chronology. The
Washington Post has cited Mr. Scheel as one who “has
taken on subjects no one else has tried—notably the
history of African-Americans in Loudoun.” He began
his intensive research on this subject in 1971.
There are no restrictions on using this material. Please
cite the Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, as the provider,
and Mr. Scheel as the author.
Most of the books, manuscripts, and other materials cited
in this chronology are drawn from the Thomas Balch Library’s
A critical bibliography follows the chronology.
Revised, April 2004
1709-1720s: The initial settlers
populate their grants of land with slaves and white overseers.
One overseer superintends fewer than a dozen slaves. After clearing
land they plant corn, wheat, and tobacco, the main crops in colonial
Early 1730s: Slaves comprise more than half of
the early settlers, as absentee landlords settle them in “Negro
Quarters” run by a white overseer.
October 1742: John Colvill’s “Negro
Quarter” near the mouth of Quarter Branch and the Potomac
is the first mention in print of a slave population.
1749: An Anglican minister, the Reverend Charles
Green’s census of lands to become Loudoun records about 400 “ Negros,”about
22 percent of a total population of some 1,800. Absentee landlords,
all from Stafford and Westmoreland counties, own about 70 percent
of the slaves. Thomas Lee, Governor of Virginia, leads the list
with 61 slaves. Among resident landowners, Elisha Hall, a Quaker,
owns the most slaves, 10.
1749: Reverend Green notes that “The County
born Negros are chiefly Baptised.” Does this Christian heritage
stem from trying to please, copying another’s tradition,
promise of eternal life, or the biblical tradition of racial equality?
1757: At Loudoun’s formation there are
about 550 slaves, 16 percent of a total population of about 3,500.
Absentee landlords own about 65 percent of the slaves.
1764: For the first time a census lists patrollers
to “visit all negroe quarters and other places suspected
of entertaining unlawful assemblies of slaves or any others strolling
about without a pass.”
1764: At the close of the French and Indian War
there are about 1,100 slaves, or 19 percent of 5,800 persons. Now,
about 60 percent of the slaves are owned by residents; 40 percent
by absentee landlords.
1768: Three slaves of George West, the county
surveyor, strike overseer Dennis Dallas with axes and hoes “so
he instantly expired.” The slaves are hanged, March 2, in
the county’s first public execution.
1773: On the eve of the American Revolution,
the population is 11,000, among them 1,950 slaves—17 ½ percent
of the populace, the norm for colonial Loudoun. The average cost
of a slave is about $125—about a third of what an average
man earns in a year.
April 1778: Jane Robinson of eastern Loudoun,
a mulatto born to a white woman, is the first to receive emancipation
under 1765 Commonwealth legislation.
1790: The first U. S. census lists 18,962 persons;
4,213 are slaves, or 22 percent of the total population.
1800: Loudoun registers its largest slave population,
6,078, or 28 percent of a total 20,523 persons. Freed by various
state laws, 1785-1792, there are 333 free Negroes, or 1.54 percent
of the population.
1800-1830: Quakers and Methodists, the latter
eschewing the national church’s neutral position, lead the
spiritual crusade against slavery. Leesburg’s Methodist Church
and Lincoln’s Goose Creek Meeting host many anti-slavery
1804:The Literary Magazine prints a
byline from Leesburg: “a Negro quarter of Col. T. L. [ Thomas
Ludwell] Lee, near Goose Creek, was struck by lightning, and two
negroes were struck dead, and six or seven wounded; one of the
wounded soon died and it is hoped the others are out of danger.
They had assembled for the laudable purpose of prayer, and were
singing hymns at the period of this awful visitation.”
December 1817: Eleven months after organization
of the American Colonization Society, its goal to free slaves and
transport them to Liberia, Ludwell Lee of Belmont, and the Reverend
John Mines of Leesburg Presbyterian Church, start a Loudoun chapter
of some 70 men.
1818: A letter from “Judex” (a court
arbitrator) in Leesburg’s Genius of Liberty, warns
that teaching slaves to read and write is illegal. “Negroes,
teachers and justices look to it: the order of society must prevail
over the notions of individuals.”
1820: Of a population of 22,702, 5,729 or 25
percent are slaves, 829 or 3.6 percent are free Negroes. Of 140
free black households, 19 or 13.6 percent own slaves.
By 1820: Slave boys sell at $100—$150;
single females at $300, females with a child at $400—$500.
Male slaves generally sell for more than females. Skilled laborers
and the young are in demand.
1820s: In the first instance of school desegregation,
John Jay Janney in his 1901 memoirs asserts that blacks living
on Quaker farms attended school with whites in the log schoolhouse
in Purcellville (once at Bethany Circle), and the Goose Creek Friends’ Schoolhouse
at today’s Lincoln.
1821: Newspapers often
show sympathy for slaves. In September the Genius of Liberty notes “a
drove of negroes of about one hundred unhappy wretches” passing
through Leesburg on a Sunday to “a southern destination.”
1824: Quakers organize a Loudoun Manumission
and Emigration Society (LM&ES) at the Goose Creek Friends’ Schoolhouse.
The group stresses “exposing the evils of African Slavery.”
November 1825: The LM&ES, in an invective
tirade in the Genius of Liberty, calls slavery “such
an atrocious debasement of human nature as to demand immediate
1827: The LM&ES hosts the first statewide
convention for the abolition of slavery and urges the new 1825
Virginia Constitution to include a plan for gradual emancipation.
The Goose Creek Friends’ Meetinghouse hosts the convention.
1827: The LM&ES and Loudoun Colonization
Society chapter send their first emigrants from Norfolk, Virginia
on the brig, Liberia, to Liberia.
1828-1831: There are a sizeable number of runaway
slaves. Edward Hammett, Loudoun’s jailer, records 14 runaways
in jail and 42 slaves in jail to be returned to owners.
August, 1829: The RichmondWhig notes: “Died
at his residence in Loudoun County, a few days since, Tommy Tomson,
a black man, aged 130 years. “He retained his mental and
physical facilities, to a few days previous to his disease.”
1829-1836: Farmer Albert Heaton of Woodgrove,
a member of the Colonization Society, receives six letters from
his emancipated slaves in Liberia. Mars and Jessie Lucas complain
of the country’s primitive state and the Africans’ ignorance
1830: Mr. Heaton’s one surviving letter
to the Lucases reads: “You have felt and witnessed the degradation
of your colour in this country. But you will have gone to a country
where the Noblest feeling of Liberty will spring up. The prize
I mean is the prize of Liberty.”
1830: Sixty-five percent of the 5,343 slaves,
23.8 percent of 22, 796 persons—a prewar high—are under
24 years. Of the 1,079 free Negroes, 4.7 percent of the population
(nine families), or 1 percent own slaves.
1831: In late weeks of the year, following Nat
Turner’s slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia, patrols
again set out. They check slaves for passes and free blacks for
identification papers. “Run Negro, run, or the Pa-trr-oll
will get you,” blacks told their naughty children—well
into the postwar years.
December 1831: Loudouners petition the state
legislature to gradually emancipate slaves. Five petitioners own
some 120 slaves. The legislature does not act.
1831-1832: The insurrection prompts the Virginia
legislature to pass acts forbidding slaves and free Negroes to
assemble for the purpose of reading, writing, or listening to a
black preacher. However, slaves of one master can meet for prayer.
1832: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is complete
along the Potomac River opposite Loudoun County. The canal’s
completion makes possible the shipment of slaves from Washington
and Alexandria to the large slave warehouses at the Monocacy River’s
mouth and at Licksville, Maryland. Via Noland’s and Spinks’ Ferries
they are shipped to Loudoun and southward.
Mid-1830s-1839: Free black Leonard Grimes, a
carriage driver, conducts several slaves to safety, including seven
in one barouche. This last daring escape, along the Leesburg Pike,
leads to his arrest, trial, and two-year prison sentence—the
minimum penalty, due to his “former good character.”
1836: Richard Henderson,
Attorney, contends it is virtually impossible to prosecute free
blacks who have come to Loudoun to work from other states, which
had been illegal since 1793. Henderson contends that for every
person prosecuted by the county court there are seven to eight
1836: Mr. Henderson petitions the state legislature
to remove all free blacks to “the Western coast of Africa,” remarking
that those from out of state live in a condition of “poverty,
vagrancy, and crime.” His petition is rejected.
1836-1846: Margaret Mercer uses proceeds from
the sale of family lands and from her girls’ school at Belmont
to emancipate her family’s slaves and send them to Liberia.
By 1840: The low ridge east of Catoctin Mountain
is known as Negro Mountain because of slaves and free Negroes living
there. It is the first geographical feature to have a name specifically
associated with race.
1840: Free Negroes comprise
6.45 percent, of 1,318 persons of a population of 20,431. Slaves
comprise 25.8 percent of 5,273 persons.
1843: Liberia’s census records that only
four of the thirty emigrants from Loudoun in 1827 remain in that
country. Two had returned to the U.S., one to the Waterford in
Loudoun County. Four had gone to Cape Palmas or Tiembo, in other
areas of Africa. Twenty-four had died of “African fever,” many
in their first year of arrival.
1844: Slaves John W. Jones and his half-brother,
George Jones, escape to Elmira, New York, and through the early
1860s assist some 800 slaves to escape to Canada.
1844: Samuel M. Janney, of Springwood, near Lincoln,
writes a series of anti-slavery letters in the AlexandriaGazette.
He proposes an end to domestic slave trade and argues for the “superiority
of free labor.”
December 1844: In a letter to a friend, Samuel
Janney writes: “I think public sentiment advancing here in
favor of emancipation. There are many more opposed to slavery than
is generally supposed, but they are afraid to avow their sentiments.”
1845: Samuel Janney’s memoirs, published
in 1881, provide evidence of a pre-Civil War Underground Railway
through Loudoun. In the memoir he writes of visiting Pennsylvania
before the war and meeting a “considerable number of blacks” he
February 1846: Virginia passes a bill giving
voters the option to establish public schools. Six counties (including
close-by Culpeper) vote for public education. The others, including
Loudoun, fear that the schools will be open to free blacks, who
for decades have been taking jobs away from whites.
1849: Samuel M. Janney persuades Thomas C. Connolly,
editor of The Loudoun Chronicle, to start a newspaper
promoting public education and emancipation of slaves. But they
lack funds, and there are already four local newspapers.
1849: A Grand Jury accuses Samuel Janney of a “calculated” effort
to “incite persons of color to make insurrection or rebellion” and
of saying that slave owners “had no right of property in
their slaves.” He is tried in June 1850, but is acquitted
on both counts.
1840s-1850s: William Benton, builder of Oak Hill,
Woodburn, and many other prominent Loudoun homes, defies state
law by teaching his slaves (he owned 19 in 1850) to read and write.
Possible addition here: Eight Waterford black men and women listed
in 1850 census as being literate . BCSouders
1850: At mid-century persons owning the most
slaves: Elizabeth Carter (widow of George Carter) of Oatlands,
85; Lewis Berkeley of Aldie, 58; John P. Dulany of Welbourne, 52;
John A. Carter of Crednal, 32; Townsend McVeigh of Valley View,
31; Humphrey Brooke Powell, of The Shades, 27. All except Mrs.
Carter live in the Aldie-to-Upperville corridor.
1850: Of a population of 22,679, 5,641 or 24.1
percent are slaves; 1,357 or 5.6 percent are free Negroes. Loudoun
registers its largest pre-war black population.
ca. 1850: A free black man’s pay was, in
one case, $120 per year and included “room and board,” which
could cover cutting rights to firewood, cornmeal, flour, bacon,
a bit of garden ground, and space to live.
1850: Samuel Thompson, who lives near Telegraph
Springs, is the wealthiest of free blacks with $4,500 worth of
real property (equivalent to $370,000 today). He owns no slaves.
The average free black owns $473 of real property (about $33,000
1856: Benjamin Drew’s book, The Refugee,
presents the first interviews with escaped slaves George Johnson,
who lived near Harper’s Ferry, and Peyton Lucas, of Leesburg.
They describe conditions, whippings, other degradations, and escape.
1857: A broadside about Yardley Taylor, Quaker
map-maker, orchardist, and U.S. mail carrier, accuses him of assisting
slaves in Loudoun and Fauquier to escape, and of being “Chief
of the Abolition clan in Loudoun.”
By 1858: Prices for slaves have increased nearly
ten times since 1820. A skilled male laborer might bring $1,600;
an unskilled worker, $1,200. A young woman can be sold for $1,000,
and if she has light skin, much more. By 1860, prices decrease.
1859: Daniel Dangerfield, a slave helper at Aldie
Mill, escaped in 1853 and is arrested in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Sentiment is strong in Loudoun
for his return, but Pennsylvania refuses to extradite.
October 1859: Following John Brown’s raid
on Harper’s Ferry, fifty Hillsboro militiamen, ages 15 to
75, trek to the Ferry to “protect Loudoun.” Free blacks
stay clear of the militia and avoid whites in authority.
November 1859: Rumors of impending conflict between
the North and the South prompt three civil guard units to monitor
the Potomac crossings and scout areas around Short Hill and in
the Blue Ridge. In December, Leesburg hosts a military fair. Tensions
created by these rumors, and eventually the outbreak of war, keep
free blacks on edge until the war ends in 1865.
November 1859: Tennessean John Bell, owner of
many slaves and advocate of keeping the status quo, wins Loudoun’s
presidential election, 2,033 to 778. The anti-slavery candidate
Abraham Lincoln garners 11 votes, all in the Purcellville South
Precinct (the area about today’s Lincoln). Stephen Douglas,
perceived to be anti-slave, gets 120 votes.
1860: On the eve of war, 5,501 or 25 percent
of 21,774 persons are slaves; 1,202 or 5.7 percent are free blacks.
Of those free, 51 percent are mulattos. Of 166 free black households,
7 or 4.2 percent, own slaves. See 34
Largest Slaveholders; Slave
1860: Twenty percent of free blacks own real
estate, their property averaging $317, a decline of a third since
1850. By contrast, the average farm is worth $8,700, an increase
of 15 percent since 1850.
1860: Slaves are hired out, a practice for a
generation, with the annual rate about $120 (a third of a white
laborer’s annual wage). Slave women are rented for $50 to
$60 a year. In the Waterford area a slave contract could include
$85 per year for a man in 1853 plus clothing: “one winter coat,
one pair field pants, one vest, two pair summer pants, four shirts,
two pair socks, two pr drawers one pair work boots one pr good
summer shoes one hat and pay his taxes.”
ca. 1860-1865: Margaret Harrison
Benton of New Lisbon (now Huntlands) instructs her slaves in reading
and writing, and after the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, in an
ca. 1861-1865: Possibly 50 slaves or so serve
in the Union Army, officially or as helpers in such tasks as horse
handling, mess duty, cutting hair, carrying materiel, and other
items. Perhaps twice that number serve the Confederate cause in
similar jobs. Most of the slaves who served (freedmen after the
Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863) remain
At least four Waterford men: James Lewis, 55th Massachusetts;
Henson Young, 1st US Colored Troops; Webb Minor of the Loudoun
Rangers, and Ed Collins, thought to be a Loudoun Ranger are
known to have served. Lewis may have been a freed slave and Collins
was free at the time of his enlistment. While Minor was born
free, Young was a slave of William Russell Sr .
April 1862: Diarist Catherine Broun of Middleburg
writes on April 30: “Servants are running off. Poor things,
they think they are going to their friends. How disappointed they
will be, but we want them to go and try them.”
May 1862: Mrs. Broun writes: “Servants
are all free now. Several [ Union] regiments from Maryland laid
down their arms and went home. Said they thought they were fighting
for the Union, but as it is for the Negroes they would fight no
September 1862: Mrs. Broun makes note of an “ African
Church,” the first indication blacks are worshipping at Asbury
Methodist Church, Middleburg, and the earliest reference from that
period to a separate church for blacks. A 1976 reference sites
blacks as worshipping separately at the Northern Methodist Church
on Liberty Street in Leesburg during the early 1860s, and perhaps
even before the war began.
1864-1865: Loudoun’s John W. Jones (see
article) interred some 2,950 Confederates
who died at Elmira, New York’s Camp Chemung prisoner-of-war
camp. Jones also documented the names, dates, and other known facts
about the interred
1865: The two churches where blacks worshipped
during the war shortly become Mount Zion Methodist, Leesburg, and
Asbury Methodist, Middleburg, the latter continuing under its 1829
March 1865: The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen,
and Abandoned Lands, better known as the Freedmen’s Bureau,
establishes headquarters in Leesburg and Middleburg. The Bureau’s
job is to educate and protect freed blacks, and to help them adjust
to a free society.
May 1865: Mrs. Broun: “See the colored
people going about with their school books. Yanks teaching them.”
Late 1865 or January 1866: Leesburg blacks establish
a “Colored Man’s Aid Society” to assist their
infirm and indigent. Lauding the enterprise, the Democratic
Mirror editorializes: “The negroes of this community
are, as a general thing, polite and well behaved.” See article.
Late 1865 or January 1866: The
Bureau establishes a school at Middleburg, and one across the road
from present Asbury Methodist Church, near Hillsboro.
1866: Freedmen’s Bureau Schools are opened
at Lincoln (Janney’s School), and there are two schools in
Leesburg: “the African School,” probably at the Northern
Methodist Church, and Bailey’s School, on South King Street.
1866: The first known local black teacher is
the Reverend William L. Robey, at Leesburg’s African School. The
Washingtonian on June 22, 1866 states: “ William Robey
has for more than a year past been teaching a large number of freed
boys and girls, and I think with considerable success.”See William
O. Robey; article.
July 1866: Black trustees for “the Colored
people of Waterford and vicinity” buy the first land for
a school for blacks in Waterford.
1867: With financial help from the Freedmen’s
Bureau and the Philadelphia Friends the Waterford School is built,
to be used “as a school house for colored children and for
church purposes.” Its ninety-year tenure is the longest for
any school for African-Americans. See Second
1867: The first postwar churches for blacks organize:
Mount Zion Methodist at Leesburg, led by the Reverend William L.
Robey; Shiloh Baptist at Middleburg, founded by the Reverend Leland
Warring, and Trinity Methodist Church at Rock Hill, near Lincoln.
1867-1868: Snickersville physician George Emory
Plaster, former Confederate Army lieutenant, represents Loudoun
County at the Richmond Underwood Convention, which gives blacks
the right to vote, provides for statewide public education, and
leads to Virginia’s readmission to the Union in 1870.
ca. 1867: Asbury Methodist
Church for blacks, near Hillsboro, organizes with the first services
on the mountain [Short Hill],” then later at the Freedmen’s
Bureau School. Nathaniel M. Carroll is the first pastor.
1868: The Freedmen’s
Bureau builds a school for $150 “to be used for the education
of the colored youth of Willisville and for church purposes on
Sabbath Day.” This
first public school for blacks in southwest Loudoun is complete
the next year. The church’s successor becomes Willisville
October 10, 1868: the
Reverend Robert Woodson of Alexandria founds eastern Loudoun’s
first Negro church, Oak Grove Baptist, then called Woodson Mission.
By March, 1869: Seven schools educate black children:
near Hillsboro, at Leesburg, Lincoln, Middleburg, Waterford, Willisville,
and a new school called Harmony, either at Hamilton or at nearby
By 1869: Under Freedmen’s Bureau wage guidelines,
black field hands receive $12 to $15 a month plus board, clothes,
and medical attention. Women field hands receive $5 to $8 a month
with board: women cooks and house servants, $6 to $10 with board;
$14 to $18 without. These wages are equivalent to those paid white
1870: The first census taken after all blacks
are free lists 5,691 “colored,” 27 percent of a population
of 20,929. Many blacks had left Loudoun for jobs in Alexandria,
Baltimore, and Washington.
1870: With Virginia again achieving statehood—a
prerequisite was establishment of a segregated public school system—the
Freedmen’s Bureau offices close. The Freedmen’s Bureau
schools of the 1860s become public schools for black children.
ca. 1870-1920s: Typical of whites’ descriptions
of esteemed blacks in newspapers, this obituary notice of 1887: “.. ‘tis
true he was of the colored race, but his life was actuated by principles
as white and as pure as any man’s.” Newspaper articles
often address blacks as “Aunt” and “Uncle” rather
than “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
1872: Loudoun County’s
first school superintendent, Donald Wildman, writes in his yearly
report to the state that blacks “are
much more liberal in their proportion to their means than the whites,
and are willing to submit sacrifices to accomplish their object.”
1872: The Rock Hill Methodist Church (known as
Austin’s Grove since 1911), organizes under the leadership
of the Reverend Henry Carroll. It meets at the Rock Hill School
1873: V. Cook Nickens, a Leesburg barber, is
the first elected black official, serving for a year as a constable
of Leesburg Magisterial District.
September 1873: The first known black fraternal
grouping, Middleburg’s Aberdeen Odd Fellow’s Lodge,
organizes. For nearly fifty years one of its main objectives is
to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862.
Negro fraternal organizations and their ladies’ counterparts
begin to wane by the late 1930s and disappear by 1980.
1875: Providence Primitive Baptist Church, on
Church Street, Leesburg, organizes, led by the Reverend Harvey
Johnson; its 1875 building, the first postwar Negro church to arise
that is still standing, is complete by June.
1875: The Virginia Marble Company begins full-scale
mining operation at the old Mount’s Marble quarry by Goose
Creek. At about the same time the Leesburg lime quarries are intensively
mined. Through the 1920s these quarries are the largest employers
of blacks, each employing from 30 to 50 workers.
1875-1908: The following towns draw their corporate
limits to exclude Negro sections: Hamilton (1875), Lovettsville
(1876), Hillsboro (1880), Round Hill (1900), and Purcellville (1908).
The Hamilton, Hillsboro, and Round Hill corporate limits still
reflect those exclusions.
1876: Leesburg’s Mirror mentions
a Negro political group named “The Invincible Republican
Club of Leesburg, Virginia.” They are indebted to the Republican
Party for their “freedom and rights.”
1877: The first land and public building bought
for Negroes in Mercer District is the still-standing St. Louis
1878: A deed notes that the first Snickersville
(now Bluemont) public school for blacks is open on land “upon
which is now a house used as a free school for education of colored
people, and also used as a place of public worship by said colored
people.” The First Baptist Church of Bluemont organizes here
1878: Dr. Benjamin Franklin Young is noted on
the deed to the Snickersville School. This first known black physician,
apprenticed under Dr. George E. Plaster, ca.1870, former lieutenant
in the Confederate Army and Snickersville physician.
1880: As the need for farm labor increases and
jobs in the cities decrease, blacks move back to the country. They
now comprise 31 percent or 7,243 persons of a total population
of 23,634. This number will not be surpassed until the mid-1990s.
By 1880: Sixteen of the eventual 27 main black
villages and hamlets have formed: Bowmantown (“Down in the
Flats”), Britain (Guinea or New Britain), Brownsville (Swampoodle),
Gleedsville, Guinea Bridge, Howardsville, Macsville, Marble Quarry,
Oak Grove, Rock Hill (Middletown or Midway), Rock Hill near Lincoln,
Scattersville (Mt. Pleasant), Stewartown (“Up in the Hollow”),
Watson (Negro Mountain), Willisville, and an unnamed village along
Snickers’ or Butcher’s Branch near Snickersville. The
lots are generally on poor and wooded land.
1881: The Reverend Nathaniel Carroll organizes
Hamilton’s Mount Zion African Methodist Church. Its congregation
is at first served by circuit riding preachers. The present church
building dates from 1928.
1882: A Middleburg school for blacks replaces
the Freedman’s Bureau school, and is the only school to be
named (unofficially) for a Loudoun black leader—principal
Oliver L. Grant.
1884: The first large school (four rooms) for
blacks opens on Union Street, Leesburg. All black schools are officially
designated by letters until 1919; white schools are identified
by numbers. This school, still standing, is “A,” in
1884-1885: Among several black congregations
building churches in the 1880s are two in Lincoln, made of stone—forerunners
of later Negro stone churches in Rock Hill and Willisville. The
Lincoln churches are Mount Olivet Baptist (1884) and Grace Methodist
1885: Second School superintendent William Giddings,
a former Confederate colonel, writes of only “faint murmurings
of opposition” to blacks receiving a free education. “This
new era, in compensation for the sufferings and losses of our people,
has brought many blessings, the greatest of which is our public
1886: A new Hillsboro-area school for blacks
is established. It still stands.
1887-1888: William H. Ash, born a Loudoun slave,
is elected to the House of Delegates, representing Amelia and Nottoway
Counties. He was one of 87 Negroes elected to the General Assembly,
1867-1895; none represented Loudoun or adjacent counties. Mr. Ash,
a Hampton Institute graduate and agriculture teacher, returned
to Loudoun in the 1890s and taught at the Leesburg School.
1888: Verdie Robinson moves his barbering trade
from Baltimore to Leesburg. It’s a whites-only trade; the
barbers cut blacks’ hair at their homes for half the price.
Robinson’s, now on Loudoun Street, is the county’s
oldest operating black business.
1888: A new Hamilton-area public school for blacks,
still standing in Brownsville, is established.
October? 1889: The first Round Hill public
school for blacks opens north of town on the Woodgrove Road.
Early November 1889: Orion Anderson, accused
of accosting a white woman, is taken from the Leesburg Jail and
lynched—the first of record in the county.
November 15, 1889: Democrat
Philip W. McKimmey defeats Republican William Mahone in the election
for governor, 2,835 to 1,431. Return of the old-line political
regime leads blacks to suspect that segregation in its many guises
will return shortly.
December 9, 1889: For
the first time a county newspaper, Hamilton’s Republican Loudoun
Telephone, describes a Negro village without ever mentioning
race: “ St. Louis. Here you will find as good, whole-souled
and hospitable people as ever lived . . ..”
and Purcellville area blacks organize the yet-to-be-named Loudoun
County Emancipation Association. It meets that summer at Fayette
G. Welsh’s farm west of Hamilton.
Meetings are held there and at various area farms through 1909.
Also see Howard W. Clark Sr.
ca. 1890: Jim Jackson’s store at Oak Grove
opens for business; it closes in 1930—the longest-running
black business in eastern Loudoun.
1891: The Loudoun Telephone editorializes: “ Virginia
cannot afford to have the Jim Crow car stand among her products
at the [ Chicago] World’s Fair [of 1893].”
1893: George William Lee, a black man, opens
his Purcellville barbershop and continues cutting hair for whites
only until retiring in 1950.
1898: The St. Louis Colored Colt Show is chartered “to
hold exhibitions of horses and colts and to manage and conduct
contests of speed and jumping; and other such tests. But no gambling
of any sort shall be allowed.” These events continued into
1900: A slow decline of blacks to total population
begins. They now comprise 27 percent of 5,868 or 21,948 persons.
Their number of registered voters is 1,046 to 17.8 percent to the
or 24 percent.
1900: The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad’s
Bluemont Line ( Alexandria to Bluemont) segregates its passenger
cars in accord with the new state law. Blacks sit in the rear of
1902: A new Virginia Constitution inaugurates
the literacy test and a poll tax of $1.50 (more than most blacks’ daily
wage). Voters for president decline from 4,800 in 1899 to 2,072
in 1903. The decline in Negro voters is not known.
August 1902: During August Court Days, an annual
festival occurring during the time of major trials at the Courthouse,
a group of inebriated whites storm the Leesburg Jail, and lynches
Charles Craven. He had allegedly killed a juror who helped convict
him of burning a barn. An inquest determines no one saw the lynchers.
The tragedy ends the tradition of August Court Days for many years.
The defendants, all from Loudoun County, are acquitted. See Mirror articles;
December 1909: The Loudoun County Emancipation
Association incorporates “To establish a bond of union among
persons of the Negro race, to provide for the celebration of the
22 nd day of September as Emancipation Day, or the Day of Freedom,
to cultivate good fellowship, to work for the betterment of the
race, educationally, morally, and materially.” See Loudoun
County Emancipation Association.
January 1910: The Emancipation Association buys
ten acres, soon to be known as the Emancipation Grounds, just south
of Purcellville. In August it meets there under a tent.
1913: Charlie Willis, with a loan from Harris
Levy, prior white storekeeper, opens his store at the village of
Levy, southwest of Aldie. It remains remained open until 1974—a
Loudoun record under one person’s ownership.
1914: Round Hill’s Arch Simpson designs
and superintends the building of the Emancipation Grounds’ Tabernacle,
patterned after the whites’ Bush Meeting Tabernacle. It holds
1,200, and admission to the September Emancipation Day event is
1917: A group of black men organizes The Willing
Workers’ Club at Purcellville, and under trustees William
M. Johnson, George W. Lee, and Lewis S. Rector, buys land for a
school for black children.
1917: Charles Ashe witnesses a third Leesburg
lynching, from a tree on the grounds of old Leesburg High School
(for whites). Ashe remembers the victim “crying and hollering—tell
my mother I didn’t do it.”
1917-1918: Some 100 blacks serve in the U. S.
Military. Three blacks, Ernest Gilbert, Valentine B. Johnson, and
Samuel C. Thornton, die in service. On the courthouse green’s
bronze plaque commemorating those who died in “The Great
War,” the names of the three are separated from the 27 whites
October 1919: The Willing Worker’s Club
incorporates “to assist in providing proper educational facilities
for the colored children of Purcellville, to provide further for
the religion training of such children, to equip and maintain a
Library and Reading room for such children.” In November,
Clarence L. Robey loans them $1,030 for a two-room school “which
has been erected.”
October 4, 1920: Of
200 women who register (out of 3,400 eligible to vote for the first
time), the Loudoun Mirror notes 18 “colored women.”
ca. 1920: Builder William Nathan Hall buys some
seventeen acres at Macsville for a recreation ground for blacks.
The land is known as Hall’s Park, open until ca. 1948. It
is now administered by the county, but has a new name for a white
1922: In this year of public-school consolidation
under one county school board, the top salary for a white teacher
is $80 a month, for a black teacher, $55 a month.
1924: Charles Fenton Simms (1850-1924) gives
the largest individual gift, $5,000, to the Loudoun County Hospital
(founded 1912) “to alleviate the sufferings of the colored
people.” The gift probably equaled what Simms was able to
earn in a decade.
1924: The Jeanes Fund, a one-million-dollar national
fund donated by Miss Anna T. Jeanes of Philadelphia, allows Loudoun
to hire a superintendent for Negro schools. But the county does
not do so until 1931, and then for only one year.
1925: The average annual salary for white teachers
is $836.10, for black teachers, $358.12. Starting salaries are
$520 and $315. The yearly cost to educate a white child is $29.27,
a black child, $9.81.
Ca. 1925: Wilmer Carey of Washington
lays out a baseball field at Purcellville’s Emancipation
Grounds. Here, through the 1950s, play Negro teams from Alexandria,
Charles Town, Culpepper, Front Royal, Leesburg, Manassas, Middleburg,
Purcellville, Warrenton, Washington, and Winchester.
By 1925: Improved roads prompt a few car pools
to send black teenagers to the Manassas Industrial School (founded
1894), Northern Virginia’s only accredited high school for
1930: With two added rooms for two years of high-school
instruction, the Leesburg School becomes the first secondary school
for blacks. As the Loudoun County Training School, it graduates
a class of five in 1935. Diplomas of its last graduating class
of 1940 bear the name Leesburg High School.
1931: Neal ‘Kid’ Corum opens his
Bowmantown store, and operates it through 1977. Its closing marks
the last of the retail businesses owned by blacks in the county.
1931: School board minutes substitute the word “negro” for “colored,” but
Negro does not appear again until 1947, when teachers are “negro,” but
schools are “colored.”
1932: Loudoun’s first official road map
notes three public travelways named for blacks: Ned Davis Lane,
near Morrisonville, for a brick maker, Berryman Lane, near Middleburg,
for farmer and horseman Raymond Berryman, and Gleedsville Road,
for the village by Negro Mountain, founded by Jack and Mahala Gleed.
1932: Blacks from the Bluemont area protest the
closing of their school that spring. Train schedules to Round Hill,
location of the nearest school, get children to school late and
bring them home late. Negro teacher Beatrice Scipio then teaches
eight children in her Bluemont-area home for three years.
September 1932: Shadrack Thompson’s
burned and mutilated body, dangling from a rope, is found on Rattlesnake
Mountain in Fauquier County. A white woman said he had raped her.
State and county official deny he was lynched; the NAACP says he
was lynched. Locals today affirm the latter position.
1932-1934: The brutal January murder of a Middleburg
socialite and her Negro maid allegedly by George Crawford, bring
a Howard University defense team, led by Charles Hamilton Houston
(Amherst Phi Beta Kappa and Harvard Law), to defend Crawford. Houston’s
intellect wins over the jury and for the first time in Loudoun
County a black man so accused receives a life sentence rather than death.
1933-1934: Assisting Houston is Howard University
law student Thurgood Marshall. The verdict convinces Marshall that
blacks can receive justice in the South, and he shelves his corporate
law plans for a civil-rights career. In 1967, Thurgood Marshall
becomes the first black to serve on the Supreme Court.
1933: Maurice Britton King Edmead from St. Kitts
in the West Indies, a Bronx High School of Science grad and Howard
University M.D., opens a practice in Middleburg, which continues
until 1952. He is the first modern-day black physician, but is
not allowed to practice at the Loudoun Hospital.
1933: William “Will” Nathaniel Hall
and crew receive the contract to reconstruct George Washington’s
gristmill at Mt. Vernon. His builders often number twenty, and
he is Loudoun’s largest private employer of blacks.
April 19, 1935: Prompted
by the goading of Charles Houston in 1933, Judge J. R. H. Alexander
adds to the roll of potential jurors one black, Gus Valentine,
a retired gentleman from Leesburg. His wife, Carrie, is Judge Alexander’s
maid. Valentine is not called to serve.
1935: The County-Wide League, a union of all
Negro Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) is organized to improve
the quality of education. In 1938, Middleburg blacksmith John Wanzer
becomes president, and serves in that capacity until his death
1937: Silas Jackson of the Upperville area and
George Jackson of Bloomfield are the last of the local slaves to
be interviewed, under auspices of the Federal Writers’ Project.
Their stories are filled with the details of daily slave life.
1937: Will Brown drives the
first school bus for black children, from Purcellville, via Hamilton
and Waterford, to the Leesburg School. Busing for white children
began in 1925, and by 1937, they have fourteen school bus routes.
April 25, 1938: County
funds are expended for health care of blacks for the first time—$100 “for
dental clinic for colored children.” White children receive
$400, a fair apportionment based on the percentage of blacks to
whites in the county’s population.
1939: Under leadership of Gertrude Alexander,
who that year becomes the first superintendent of black teachers,
the County-Wide League focuses on building a new high school for
February 1940: Shiloh Baptist
Church hosts the first countywide “Negro History Week,” sponsored
by the County-Wide League. Speaker Charles Houston points to unacceptable
conditions at black schools, lack of equipment, insufficient bus
transportation, and unequal pay.
March 15, 1940: The
Board of Supervisors “orders to be filed” letters from
the County-Wide League, and choral clubs of Providence and Mount
Olivet Baptist Churches, urging “immediately a safe place
of instruction of the Negro students now going to the Loudoun County
Training School.” Next day the League’s same letter,
drafted by Charles Houston, is sent to the school superintendent.
March 23, 1940: Getting
nowhere, Charles Houston urges formation of a local NAACP chapter.
On that day Marie Medley, on behalf of twenty-five persons, including
sixteen women, writes the national chapter and encloses their dues.
March 24, 1940: The
national NAACP charters a Loudoun chapter. Marie Medley, a Leesburg
beautician, becomes its first president.
December 16, 1940: The black
community buys eight acres near Leesburg for $4,000, and deeds
the land to the Loudoun County School Board for $1. On it Douglass
High School will be built. Usually, the school board buys land
1941-1945: More than 400 blacks serve in the
U. S. military. Unlike the World War I memorial, which segregated
the 30 names of those who died, the 68 who died in this war—and
the 4 who died in the Korean War and the 12 who died in the Viet-Nam
War—are named together.
June 1941: Named for the famed abolitionist and
educator Frederick Douglass, the new high school receives accreditation
and offers a three-year program. It graduates its first class of
March 23, 1943: The
word “Negro,” rather than the traditional “Colored,” is
found in Board of Supervisors ’ minutes for the first time.
1944: The salary gap between the earnings of
white and black teachers begins to narrow: The average white teacher
earns $1,404, the average black teacher, $1,293.
1944-1945: Both black and white laborers claim
that German prisoners of war working in Loudoun orchards get preferential
treatment. Blacks are particularly irked that the Germans refer
to them as “Nagers.”
December 1946: The first modern elementary school
for blacks, eight-room George Washington Carver, in Purcellville,
opens. Rosalie McWashington is the principal. The campaign for
a new school had begun in 1927.
March 1948: Six-room Banneker School opens at
St. Louis, west of Middleburg, the only original school for black
children still in operation (now integrated). The School Board
wants to name the school “Mercer,” for the magisterial
district, but the black PTAs championed Banneker, to honor mathematician
and astronomer Benjamin Banneker, who helped to survey the District
September 1948: Four-room Oak Grove School, the
first modern elementary school for blacks in eastern Loudoun, opens.
1949: Douglass High School expands to include
a twelfth grade level and graduates its first four-year class of
twelve in 1950.
1949-1950: Will Hall, a black builder in Middleburg,
and his crew of about thirty, build the new Loudoun Hospital in
1949-1952: For two seasons the Douglass High
School girl’s basketball team, traveling to away games with
the boy’s team, wins the Tri-State Championship under coaches
Geraldine Dashiel and I. J. Daniel.
ca. 1949: Episcopalian John W. Tolbert Jr., invited
to St. James’ Episcopal Church by Leesburg Mayor George J.
Durfey, a sometime employer, becomes the first black man in modern
times to worship regularly in a church for whites. When he kneels
for his first communion, a woman moves away. Tolbert will later
serve as a vestryman at this church.
1950: The first black runs for office, Carr P.
Cook, Jr., for the Middleburg Town Council. He loses, by two votes.
March 1951: The first community center for blacks
opens in Middleburg as Grant School is enlarged. There is a basketball
court. The total cost is $59,999; the whites’ community center,
built 1948, cost ten times that amount.
1952: George Barrett, science teacher and basketball
coach at Douglass High School, writes the first social column for
blacks, in the Loudoun Times-Mirror. Fred and Peggy Drummond’s “Lines
From Loudoun” follows in 1955; it is still going strong.
1953: The first two rural subdivisions in western
Loudoun, Aspen Hill and Leith Village, have covenants stating: “no
part of the said property shall be sold, located, or occupied by
any individual of African descent.”
Fall, 1955: Paul Mellon’s Middleburg Horse
Training Track at St. Louis opens, and for more than three decades
becomes the largest private employers of blacks; from 40 to 60
of them work there.
1956: The Board of Supervisors agrees to build
the first modern elementary school for blacks in Leesburg, Douglass.
The building is complete by early 1958.
August 1956: The Board unanimously passes this
resolution forwarded by Commonwealth’s Attorney Stirling
M. Harrison: “In the event the integration edict is imposed
upon the public school system there will not be forthcoming any
funds for the maintenance and operation of any school.”
March 1957: Purcellville Library, the one county
public library, desegregates after Samuel Murray takes the library
to court for refusing to loan him a book. Only after the Board
of Supervisors and Town Council threaten to cut off funds do library
trustees vote, 7 to 5, to keep the library open.
1957: Waterford’s black school (grades
1-8) closes; children are bused to a black school in Leesburg.
By 1959: Without giving public notice, the school
board allows black children to enter a white school if their parents
come to the board offices and get a blue consent slip. No one can
recall a Negro child going to a white school before 1963.
1960: Dover’s Glanwood Moore organizes
the first black Boy Scouts, Troop 1168, under sponsorship of the
Banneker PTA. Under scoutmaster James Roberts, it merges with white
troop 953 in 1970.
ca. 1960: Clint Saffer, owner of the Leesburg
mill and chairman of the Democratic Party, asks John Tolbert what
he thinks of integration. John replies, “ Clint, if you had
twenty white-faced Angus and one black-faced Angus, would you built
a separate barn for the black-faced Angus?”
By 1960: To circumvent the unequal treatment
afforded blacks by the “blue slips,” the school board
requires all children to present blue slips indicating whether
they’d prefer to attend a “black” or a “white” school.
April 19, 1961: Two
Howard University students sip cokes at Flournoy’s Drug Store,
Middleburg, in the first instance of lunch counter desegregation
brought on by threat of a mass demonstration of Washington NAACP
and CORE members. Father Albert Pereira, President John F. Kennedy’s
priest, and Mayor Edwin Reamer convince eateries to desegregate
so they will not embarrass the President, who worships in town
April 29, 1961: At
B. Powell Harrison’s suggestion, a meeting between leaders
of the races forestalls a Washington NAACP and CORE demonstration
in Leesburg. Town drug store lunch counters serve blacks.
By 1962: Construction of Dulles Airport razes
the 1880s predominantly Negro village of Willard. Some blacks contend
the airport would not have been located there had the area been
February 1, 1962: Walter
Murray’s ten-pin Village Lanes bowling alley on Catoctin
Circle, Leesburg, opens to all. The segregated duck-pin alley closes
July 16, 1962: Upon motion of
Jefferson District (now part of Catoctin District) Supervisor James
E. Arnold of Waterford, the Board of Supervisors rescinds the August
1956, opposition to the school integration edict by a four-to-one
Summer, 1962: Black teenagers have been taking
nightly dips in the whites’ Middleburg Community Center pool.
Center president Howell Jackson suspects black activist William
McKinley Jackson of encouraging the trespassers. A “Jackson-to-Jackson” confrontation
prompts Howell to desegregate the pool when the public schools
1962: A dozen blacks request the state to admit
them to the county’s whites’-only high schools, and
eight blacks sue Loudoun for its segregated schools. A federal
court orders the county to comply with the 1954 Brown v. Board
of Education of Topeka decisions desegregating public schools.
1962: Robinson’s Barber Shop, under the
new management of Negro war veterans Raymond Hughes and Horace
Nelson Lassiter, removes its “Caucasians Only” sign.
September 1963: Father Albert Pereira, the county’s
Catholic priest, and Lincoln-area ladies have planned the integration
of the new Loudoun Valley High School; only the brightest blacks
will enter. Ten integrate that school, and a black girl is salutatorian.
There are no problems.
September 1964: One black
girl enters Loudoun County High School. Ten black students follow
the next year. There are no problems, except for the common taunts
August, 1965: A Federal court order sues school
officials “for still operating on a dual system,” and
orders “all Loudoun schools be integrated on both pupil and
staff levels no later than the 1968-69 school year.”
Summer, 1965: Without protests, blacks enter
the whites’ section of Leesburg’s Tally-Ho movie theater.
Late summer, 1965: Blacks file suit to swim in
the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company’s ‘public’ pool.
The firemen have the pool filled with rock and concrete, and it
never opens again. Leesburg does not have a public swimming pool
Fall, 1965: Sterling Park,
the first large subdivision, has its first black family among some
400 others. Blacks are reluctant to move to what they perceive
is a rural segregated county.
1965: The Middleburg Community Center is finally
integrated; the NAACP holds its twenty-fifth anniversary there.
The town tows two illegally parked guests’ autos and firecrackers
explode outside the center.
August 1966: William Washington and two whites,
Mark Crowley and Pat Shoaf, integrate Purcellville eateries by
having lunch at the Tastee-Freeze. Mr. Crowley recalls: “I
got a hate stare I never will forget. None of us enjoyed our lunch.”
September 1967: The Loudoun County Emancipation
Association holds its final Emancipation Day celebration; in 1970,
they sell the ten-acre Emancipation Grounds for $20,000; the buildings
September 1967: The white high
schools begin recruiting Douglass’s black athletes. Chuck
Bushrod, one of those recruited, recalls “they treated us
like livestock.” The
1968-1969 Loudoun County High basketball team features 12 blacks
and 3 whites.
November 1967: The first blacks to hold elected
office are contractor Charles ‘ Jack’ Turner of Middleburg,
and brick mason Basham Simms of Purcellville. Both town councilmen
are elected again and again.
April 1968: After Martin Luther King’s
assassination on the 4th, black students at Loudoun Valley High
School hold an assembly to talk, pray, and sing spirituals.
April 1968: The white county baseball league
integrates as Round Hill plays the Coates brothers: Wilbur at shortstop
and pitching, batting third; Ralph, catcher, batting clean up.
In uniform, Wilbur hitchhikes from Gilbert’s Corner each
May 1968: The Leesburg firemen will not let an
integrated baseball team play at Firemen’s Field, and closes
the field that year.
May 1968: The final class of Douglass High School,
forty seniors, graduates. The commencement theme is “A Past
to be Proud of.” The last all-black classes at Banneker,
Carver, and Douglass Elementary Schools also graduate.
September 1968: Round
Hill, playing the Coates brothers, meets Leesburg for the league
championship at Purcellville’s
Fireman’s Field. Wilbur scores from second base on a single
to win the game. Leesburg threatens to quit the league.
September 1968: Annette Scheel, the county’s
first reading specialist, is the first public-school staffer to
integrate the schools, teaching at the all-black Douglass High
School for two months.
December 1968: The U. S. Department of Justice
again threatens to sue school officials for its policy of token
May 1969: School Superintendent Clarence Bussinger
retires after twelve years of thwarting integration. Under new
superintendent Robert Butt from Orange County, the public schools
are finally integrated in the 1969-1970 school year—in true “I
Byde My time” fashion. Fifteen years have passed since the Brown
v. Board of Education decision of 1954.
1970: In slow decline since the war’s end,
the black population drops from 18.8 percent of the county’s
persons in 1950 to 12.5 percent, or 4,648 or a population of 37,150.
1973: Leesburg’s Loudoun House, the first
subsidized low-cost housing complex, opens. Of its some 250 families,
usually more than 80 percent are black. To the established of both
races, the development becomes a symbol of urban ills.
1976: Charles P. Poland’s history, From
Frontier to Suburbia, presents the first published coverage
of the county’s black heritage.
June 10, 1976: Eugene
detailed Loudoun Times-Mirror chronicles twenty-four black
villages and hamlets begin with a history of Bowmantown. Through
a grant from Purcellville’s Robey Foundation, he also begins
recording several oral histories of African-Americans. For further
information see Deborah
Lee’s African American Communities
July 1976: Carr P. Cook Jr., is the first black
school board appointee, for Mercer District.
1976: John W. Tolbert becomes a member of the
Leesburg Town Council. He will later serve as Leesburg’s
1977: Middleburg’s James Roberts breaks
the color line of the traditional all-white volunteer fire departments
and becomes a town fireman.
May 1978: Rosa Carter retires from a 52-year
teaching career, the final 30 at Banneker Elementary School. For
ten years afterwards she volunteers her services. She asserts that
blacks always “got the second best,” but her credo
is “give it your best.”
1980: Decline of farms, especially dairy farms
using black labor, leads to the first single-digit percentage of
blacks to total population: 8.8 or 5,018 among 57,427 persons.
August 1983: Middleburg’s Windy Hill Foundation,
buoyed by the hard work and funds of Rene Llewellyn, organizes
and begins to renovate the homes and surrounds of this early-20th-century
By November 1983: “An enlightened bulldozer” razes
the one truly integrated graveyard, Leesburg’s Potter’s
Field: The acreage is worth $200,000 to the town. Some 200 interments,
from 1839 to 1948, are uncovered. A single marker in Union Cemetery
marks the remains.
Spring, 1984: The Waterford Foundation, under
the leadership of Kathy Ratcliffe and Bronwen Souders, opens the
1867 Colored School to 3rd and 4th graders to role-play
an 1880’s Waterford students day in a segregated school.
February 1, 1987: More than
300 at the Middleburg Community Center—the first large integrated
gathering other than a school or sports event—listen to area
black church choirs sing spirituals to celebrate the town’s
1990: The percentage of blacks decreases to a
low of 7.1 percent of a total population of 86,129. In the western
part of the county, the percentage has dropped from a 1950’s
percentage of 20 percent to 4 percent.
February 17, 1990: The NAACP
sponsors its first program in Loudoun County honoring Black History
Month at the Douglass Community Center. The young adult choir of
Leesburg’s Mount Olive Church presents the drama “Black
Summer, 1991: Brad Curl of Taylorstown begins
to bring poor black youngsters from Washington, D.C. to a summer
camp at Glaydin School, near Lucketts. By April 1994, the youngsters
and teenagers stay full time and attend Loudoun schools.
1991: Leesburg names a road, Tolbert Lane, to
honor John Tolbert, councilman 1976-1990, and a quiet presence
for civil rights since coming to Loudoun in 1931. No other feature
on the landscape had been named for a local black citizen since
November 1991: The NAACP points out that 6 percent
of public school teachers are of minority background, while 14.6
percent of the county’s population has minority backgrounds.
August 1992: Gladys Jackson Lewis, former Waterford
resident, organizes a day for “Blacks who have moved away,” at
the 1891 John Wesley Methodist Church. Some fifty attend this first
county reunion of old-timers.
1993: Relatives of the disbanded Emancipation
Association members ask the Loudoun Restoration and Preservation
Society for a grant to restore the Emancipation Grounds’ surviving
building, the 1910 log-cabin headquarters. Their request is denied.
Christmas, 1995: Joy Johnson of the Community
Church, Sterling Park, begins the congregation’s outreach
ministry to Loudoun House.
February 24, 1996: The NAACP
holds a 2-½ hour Black History celebration at Mount Olive
Church. The message is Christian compassion. A speaker notes: “Don’t
let the evils of Washington and Baltimore reach Leesburg.”
February to May, 1996: Curator
Betty Flemming, along with Mary Lee Perry and Mary Randolph of
the black community, organize at the Loudoun Museum the first exhibit
in the county featuring African-American art. It is titled, Discovering
Our Black American Heritage: Handmade Items from the Community,
Past and Present.
March 1996: Jim Vaught, pastor of King of Kings
Worship Center, Purcellville, reaches out to black ministers. They
meet weekly with white clergy, and soon their congregations worship
at each other’s churches.
August 3, 1996: Descendants
of slaves and freed blacks who labored at Oatlands, the plantation
of George Carter and his widow, Elizabeth—owners of the largest
number of slaves in the mid-19th century—hold a reunion
on the grounds.
September 1, 1996: Some
19 black and white congregations and their ministers, from Leesburg
and western Loudoun, attend “Heal,” a picnic and preaching
promoting reconciliation among the races.
September 1996: Christian Fellowship Church moves
from near Reston to Ashburn, and under leadership of the Reverend
James Ahlemann and the Reverend Odelle Moore—the first black
minister of a largely white congregation—becomes the county’s
first truly integrated church; some 15 percent of its worshippers
November 1996: At the
urging of Chauncey Smith, NAACP activist, the county approves an
affirmative-action policy. Then, in accord with national policies,
the county rejects the idea. That year county minority employees
comprise 5.6 percent of the work force. The total minority population
is at 10.3 percent.
1996: Brenda Stevenson’s book, Life
in Black and White, brings ante-bellum Loudoun into national
scholarly focus. She espouses the opinion that the realities
of slavery precluded a normal household.
March 1997: Under leadership of the Reverend
Tom Smith, Christian Fellowship Church begins its ministry to Loudoun
June 1997: Mike Holden of Circleville, near Lincoln,
founds “Loudoun Men of Integrity,” a Christian group,
to promote unity among the races. Nine Leesburg and western Loudoun
churches, three of them black, begin to hold monthly men’s
February-April, 1998: Elaine Thompson of Hamilton
spearheads the Loudoun Museum’s Emancipation Society exhibit.
The souvenir booklet, “Let Our Rejoicing Arise,” commemorates
the Society’s achievements. Many mementos will shortly become
part of the museum’s permanent collections. See
Loudoun County Emancipation Association.
September 1998: As a development
proffer, two acre that include stone slave quarters, near Arcola,
are donated to the county. It agrees to seek funds to renovate
first derelict structure important to black history to receive
September 1998: Of the county’s work force,
10.3 percent are minorities; 7.1 percent are black. These figures
are right in line with the county’s percentage of blacks
and minorities, the former numbering some 10,000.
1998: In July, residents of the 248-apartment
Loudoun House, occupied by many low-income minority families, receive
eviction notices, effective March 1999. A new owner is planning
a complete renovation. Residents find that alternate housing will
accept rental-assistance vouchers.
February 1999: Christian Fellowship Church, near
Ashburn, with some 2,600 attending Sunday services, has Loudoun’s
largest congregation, and is truly integrated: 20 percent black
and some 10 percent other minorities. The Reverend Arlie Whitlow’s
Community Church in Sterling, with 600 Sunday worshippers, is about
12 percent black.
March 1999: Eugene Scheel begins teaching the
public-school system’s first local African-American history
course for teachers.
By 2000: A rash of government
grants for black history result in the publication, within four
years, of a book, two walking tours, a driving tour highlighting
black communities, and an architectural survey of historic homes
of African-Americans. See
February 2000: The Loudoun
Museum presents an exhibit: Courage My Soul: Historic African
American Churches and Mutual Aid Societies, curated by Elaine
E. Thompson and Betty Morefield. See Churches.
April 2000: The Lincoln Preservation Foundation
decides to raise funds to repair the 1885 Grace Methodist Church,
vacant since 1949. The foundation’s goal is to garner $100,000
June 2000: An anonymous $50,000 donation to Friends
of the Thomas Balch Library leads to organization of the Friends’ Black
History Committee. Its mission: “to preserve, collect, promote,
and share the history of African-Americans who lived in and contributed
to the emergence of Loudoun County.” The donor requested
that a room at Balch be named in honor of African Americans. The
committee selected the first secretary of the Loudoun
County Emancipation Association, Howard
W. Clark Sr.
2002: The latest population estimates for Loudoun
note that of its 196,300 persons, minorities account for 21.7 percent
of the population: Asians, 7.5 percent; Latinos, 7.1 percent; Blacks,
Winter 2003: Only in eastern Loudoun and in the
newer sectors of Leesburg—where most minorities live, having
newly moved to the county—is society fully integrated. In
established Leesburg and western Loudoun blacks usually live in
separate areas, and nearly always descend from old-line county
families. By and large, they and white society remain socially
Each of the following publications has as its major focus people,
places, and events. The plums in each category are: the two Essence
of a People volumes, “African American Heritage Trail” (Leesburg),
and A Rock in a WearyLand, A Shelter
in a Time of Storm.
The Black History Committee, Friends of the Thomas Balch Library. The
Essence of a People: Portraits of African Americans Who Made
a Difference in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Leesburg, Va., 2001.
The Black History Committee, Friends of the Thomas Balch Library. The
Essence of a People II: African-Americans Who Made Their Worlds
Anew in LoudounCounty, and Beyond.
Leesburg, Va., 2002.
The first volume, containing twenty-two essays by various contributors,
focuses on persons nominated for the honor of having a room named
for them at the Thomas Balch Library.
The second volume, containing fifteen essays, is divided into
two sections: “The Road to Freedom” and “The
Battle for Equality.” The essays, written for the most
part by persons intimately connected with their subjects, are
heartfelt and often trenchant. Both volumes are illustrated.
The first volume is not indexed.
Follmer, Don, and Robin Lind, Mary Grace Lucier, Karen T. Richardson,
and others. Loudoun Harvest. Leesburg: Metro VirginiaNews,
Includes vignettes of many African Americans, as well as whites.
Other personalities are given brief biographies in the following
articles by Eugene Scheel in the The Washington Post Loudoun
Extra sections for: Feb. 6, 2000; Feb. 25, 2001; Sept. 6,
2001; March 17, 2002; July 7, 2002; May 18, 2003, Oct.19, 2003.
With a substantial grant in 2002 from the county and a donation
from the Black History Committee of Friends of the Thomas Balch
Library, this D. C. firm completed a survey of 200 historic homes
of African Americans. The survey should be complete by 2004.
Lee, Deborah A. “African American Heritage Trail.” Leesburg,
Funded jointly by the Loudoun Museum and Friends of the Thomas
Balch Library, this illustrated gem ranks at the forefront of all
Lee, Deborah A. Loudoun County’s African American Communities:
A Tour Map and Guide. Leesburg, Virginia: The Black History
Committee, Friends of the Thomas Balch Library. 2004.
This booklet briefly summarizes the history and highlights of
the communities. Illustrated and with a small map. See African
Scheel, Eugene M. The History of Middleburg and Vicinity.
Middleburg: The Middleburg Bicentennial Committee, 1987.
The only substantial town history to cover its black heritage.
Illustrated with maps, indexed.
Scheel, Eugene M. LoudounDiscovered, 5 vols.
Leesburg: Friends of the Thomas Balch Library, 2002.
Often with great detail, these books feature most of the African-American
villages. Illustrated and indexed, with maps locating the villages.
The initial Loudoun Times-Mirror articles (1976-1983),
from which these expanded essays were drawn, often contain additional
information and other photographs.
Snedegar-Spicer, Eula Louise. “Black Schools in Western
Loudoun County before Integration.” M.S. Thesis, Shenandoah
A detailed school-by-school account, including a listing of teachers.
Souders, Bronwen C. and John M. “Share With Us: Waterford,
Virginia’s African-American Heritage.” Waterford: The
Waterford Foundation, 2002.
A fine thematic walking
tour, although not quite as detailed
as Lee’s Leesburg jaunt. Illustrated and with maps.
Thompson, Elaine and Betty Morefield. Courage,
My Soul: African
American Churches and Mutual Aid Societies. Leesburg:
The Loudoun Museum, 2000.
Contains brief write-ups of the above, with photos of the buildings.
See Historic Churches and Church
McGraw, Marie Tyler. “ Northern
Virginia Colonizationists.” Northern VirginiaHeritage,
V.1 (February, 1983).
A reworking of a chapter from her 1980 George Washington University
Ph.D. Dissertation, “The American Colonization Society in
Virginia.” See Loudoun
County ACS and Lucas-Heaton
Poland, Charles. From Frontier to Suburbia. Marceline,
Mo.: Walsworth Publishing, 1976.
The county’s only comprehensive history deals ably and
fairly with its black populace. Includes illustrations, maps,
and is indexed.
Scheel, Eugene. Map of LoudounCounty:
Leesburg: Loudoun Association of Realtors, 1990.
The map’s scale is one inch to one mile. Shows exact locations
of nearly all the Negro Schools, churches, neighborhoods, and
differentiates between standing and no-longer-standing buildings.
Scheel, Eugene. The following Washington Post articles
in the “Loudoun Extra ” section cover these subjects:
The Underground Railroad, May 27, 2001; July 7, 2002;
Emancipation Day, September 17, 2000;
Emancipation Proclamation, January 5, 2003;
Integration of Loudoun Baseball, July 20 and August 3, 2003;
Integration of the Library, April 8, 2001;
Integration of Schools, May 21, 2000.
Douglass Girl’s Basketball, February 1, 2004.
Souders, Bronwen C. and John M. A Rock in a Weary Land, A
Shelter in a Time of Storm: African-American Experience in Waterford, Virginia. Waterford:
Waterford Foundation, 2003.
Culled from numerous sources, this resume of life in a predominantly
Quaker town is enhanced by excellent photographs, and excerpts
of Virginia acts covering blacks. Indexed.
Stevenson, Brenda. Life in Black and White: Family and Community
in the Slave South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Written in the detached style of the Yale University Ph.D. dissertation
that it once was, this 452-page tome deals mostly with Loudoun
County. Her thesis: Black families were different from white families
because they were enslaved. Illustrated and indexed.
Thompson, Elaine. “Let Our Rejoicing Arise”:
Emancipation Day in LoudounCounty. Leesburg:
The Loudoun Museum .
Valuable for its photographs. For a more comprehensive history,
see the Scheel Washington Post article, September