Things to Watch

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From live performances to important community dialogues, visits to historic sites and revisiting integration, explore video recordings that highlight the Black American experience in Arlington.

Arlington’s MLK Tributes

MLK-Trib.pngArlington’s annual MLK Tribute was first organized by Arlington County staff and community members in 1969, the year after Dr. King was assassinated. For the past 54 years, our community has carried on Dr. King’s legacy, honored his spirit and gathered together to advance the cause of social justice in Arlington. We are grateful to the dedicated MLK Tribute planning committee members for their service to keep Dr. King’s vision alive in Arlington.

Learn about John Robinson Jr. Town Square (2022)

The Arlington County Board officially named the town square in Green Valley as John Robinson, Jr. Town Square as part of a grand opening celebration on May 7, 2022, during an event that featured a ribbon cutting, remarks from the County Board, stories from the community and more.

John Robinson, Jr. Town Square was developed as the anchor for the Village Center, in parallel with the Four Mile Run Valley initiative. Its features and improvements include open space and a plaza, public art, an outdoor stage, neighborhood history and community information, sidewalks and pedestrian improvements as well as seating and tables.

The space was designed by award-winning landscape architect and artist Walter Hood


Arlington Celebrates Opening of Renovated Jennie Dean Park (2022)

Arlington County Parks and Recreation celebrated the reopening of the newly renovated Jennie Dean Park, an integral part of the Green Valley community for more than 75 years. Building upon its history and the community's love of sports and arts, the park has been transformed into an exciting place designed to celebrate the area’s past and cultural heritage, while increasing access to recreation and nature.

Weavers: Sherrice Kerns, Black Parents of Arlington (2021)

Inspired by David Brooks' 'Weave' initiative, we sought out Weavers in the Arlington Community.


The African-American Experience in Arlington Moderated Panel Discussion (2020)

A moderated panel discussion featuring Arlington leaders and residents. County Board Member Christian Dorsey moderates the discussion among the panelists.

Tea Time Conversations: Black Women’s Suffrage (2020)

A storytelling presentation my Ms. Ilene Evans, M.A. and Distinguished Toastmaster Arthuretta Holmes-Martin, portraying Coralie Franklin Cook and Nannie Helen Burroughs and their contributions to the women's suffrage movement.

A 360-degree View of Arlington’s Annual Feel the Heritage Festival (2018)

Arlington's Feel the Heritage Festival as held at the Charles Drew Community Center on Feb. 24, 2018.

Heroes of Fire Station 8 (Hall’s Hill) (2016)

On Sat., May, 21 2016, retired firefighters who served at Arlington Virginia's historic Fire Station 8 in the Hall's Hill neighborhood were honored at an event at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Honorees included Capt. Hartman Reed, Julian Syphax and Carl Cooper, who remembered the challenges of being African-American firefighters in the pre-civil rights era.

Back to Stratford: Honoring Arlington’s History Makers (2016)

On Feb. 2, 1959, four African American seventh-graders entered Stratford Junior High School, marking the beginning of the end of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s practice of public school segregation. They were the first African American students in Arlington County to attend their neighborhood school rather than a segregated school.

On Tues., Feb. 2, 2016, three of the four of the original integrating students returned to the Stratford Building, now home to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program. Fifty-seven years ago on that day, they had to negotiate a battalion of helmeted police officers protecting the perimeter of the school grounds. This time, they were honored participants in a special evening, “Celebrating Arlington’s History Makers.”

The former students — Michael Jones, Lance Newman and Ronald Deskins — joined a distinguished panel of community members in Stratford Auditorium, where the public joined the County in honoring them and the community effort that helped bring about integration. The other panelists included:

  • Alfred O. Taylor, Jr., an educator, civic activist and leader, community historian, and author of the newly published “Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley – Past and Present.”
  • Sharon Mondé, an Arlington Public Schools graduate who made her career with APS, serving as a foreign language teacher, Minority Achievement Coordinator, and principal of Jefferson Middle School.
  • Carmela Hamm, formerly with Commonwealth Public Broadcasting where she directed broadcasts of the VA State Senate. She also is a documentary filmmaker, and  daughter of Dorothy M. Bigelow Hamm, a leader in Arlington’s struggle to integrate its public schools.
  • Martha Miller, a former teacher at Stratford Jr. High School during the time of integration and author of her memoir entitled “The First Century.”
  • Moderator: Drew Costley, graduate of H-B Woodlawn and UDC and the current News Editor for the Falls Church News Press

Learn more about the event by watching this video of APS’s student event with the panelists. See photographer Greg Embree’s full gallery here.

An Evening to Celebrate Arlington's History Makers, Feb. 2, 2016

“It’s Just Me…” The Integration of the Arlington Public Schools (2016)

On Feb. 2, 1959, four seventh-grade students entered through the front doors of Stratford Junior High School. School was already in session as the students negotiated a battalion of helmeted police officers protecting the perimeter of the school grounds. At first appearance, these students seemed different than the average Stratford Junior High School student in attendance until this day. These students were black, and in their steps followed the desegregation and integration of public schools in Arlington and Virginia. The documentary, "Its Just Me...The Integration of the Arlington Public Schools", revisits and explores the events leading up to that February day at Stratford Junior High School.

Memories of Hoffman-Boston (2012)

Reminiscences by Hoffman-Boston teachers, students and parents at the Arlington Public Library as part of their ongoing Arlington Reunion series. Hoffman-Boston was Arlington's public high school for African-American students in the days when school segregation was still prevalent.

Calloway Cemetery (2012)

The history of Calloway Cemetery stretches back to the 19th century and opens a small but important window on the history of African-Americans in Arlington.

African-American Multigenerational Storytelling Workshop (2011)

This African-American multigenerational storytelling event was sponsored by the Friends of the Arlington (VA) Public Library and was part of the Tell Arlington's Story initiative.

Interviews with Dr. Talmadge Williams on Freedman’s Village (2009)
Interview with Dr. Talmadge Williams on Freedman's Village, Part 1

A segment of AVN's monthly magazine program, Here/now. This in studio interview with Dr. Talmadge Williams, Chairman of the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, VA, explores the little known story of Freedmen's Village.


Interview with Dr. Talmadge Williams on Freedman's Village, Part 2

A segment of AVN's monthly magazine program, Here/now, the second segment of our studio interview with Dr. Talmadge Williams, discusses the efforts being made to make the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington a reality.