Historical Resources

County History

Racial History Timeline

People/Personal Narratives

  • The Land of Maria Syphax and the Abbey Mausoleum – Dorothy E. Abbott, Arlington Historical Magazine, vol. 7, no. 4, October 1984: Brief overview of the life of Maria Syphax and her family. 
  • Oral History: Interview with Firefighter Julian Syphax – Center for Local History blog, February 27, 2018: Julian Syphax was one of the first paid Black firefighters in Arlington as well as one of the first paid firefighters at the Hall’s Hill station. This interview details  his time as a firefighter and the close-knit community of the Hall’s Hill neighborhood. 
  • Nauck Activist Joan Cooper – Center for Local History blog, January 17, 2019: Cooper was an activist for nearly 50 years in the Nauch community, and helped to advocate for an integrated school system in Arlington County. She was also an anti-drug activist.  
  • See also: Notable women of Arlington: Second series 
  • George Melvin Richardson: Hoffman-Boston Principal, 1954-1965 – Center for Local History blog, February 7, 2019: Richardson was on the initial 1954 committee to study desegregation of the Arlington Public Schools, and principal of Hoffman-Boston from 1954 until the school was closed in 1965. As a resident of the Arlington View neighborhood, Richardson also worked to create the area’s Neighborhood Conservation Plan (one of the first in the county), and later served on the executive board for the Arlington Committee of 100. 
  • Cub Scout Pack 589 and Ernest Johnson – Center for Local History blog, February 14, 2019: Ernest Johnson was the founder of Cub Scout Pack #589, as part of his efforts to give African American children in segregated Arlington a variety of activities to participate in. Johnson was also director of the County’s Negro Recreation Section, and later went on to become Supervisor of Centers when the Parks and Recreation Department desegregated. 
  • Edmond C. Fleet, Community Swimming Pool Supporter – Center for Local History blog, April 18, 2019: Fleet was Nauck community activist and leader in organizing a public pool for Black Arlingtonians. His career is detailed in this blog post and in his donated collections at the Center for Local History. 
  • Oral History: Interview with Native American Navy Pilot Thomas Oxendine – Center for Local History blog, October 26, 2017: Oxendine served as a Navy pilot, and later transitioned to civilian life as the head of public information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Arlington, Virginia. This oral history interview details the complex history of Native American and United States Federal Government relations in the 20th century, and is a source on Veteran, Native American, and United States founding history. 
  • Hispanic Heritage Month: An Interview with Vanessa Cárdenas – Center for Local History blog, October 13, 2017: In this interview, Vanessa Cárdenas shares her memories of her time at Washington and Lee High School, the importance of the Latin American Student Association in her life, and her service to her fellow students. 
  • Oral History: Interview with Nguyen Ngoc Bich – Center for Local History blog, May 7, 2018: Nguyen Ngoc Bich was a community leader in Little Saigon, and in this interview, describes the Vietnamese community in Arlington from 1975, 1980, including the area that became known as “Little Saigon.” 

School Desegregation

Neighborhoods

  • Nauck/Green Valley Heritage Project: Exploring the History and Heritage of Arlington’s Nauck Neighborhood – Arlington Public Library, Center for Local History: Digital repository for images, memories, and documents related to the history of Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood. 
  • Lee Highway Legacy Businesses – Virginia Tech’s Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program, 2017: Exploration of the history of longstanding, or “legacy,” businesses in Arlington County, VA. The study focused on two areas: the neighborhoods along the Lee Highway corridor and the historically African-American Nauck/Green Valley neighborhood. 
    • Note: These oral histories are also in the process of being catalogued at the Center for Local History. 
  • Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley: Past and Present – Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, (2015). Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing Co. (available at Arlington Public Library): Stories, interviews, and biographies of bridge builders (both past and present) who have made local and national contributions and their connections with Arlington County’s oldest African American community. 
  • My Hall’s Hill Family: More Than a Neighborhood – Wilma Jones, (2018). [Arlington, Va.]: Wilma J, LLC. (available at Arlington Public Library): Details the small community that got its start in 1850 when 327 acres of land were purchased by a white man, Bazil Hall, for a plantation. Following the Civil War, neighborhood residents were all African American. This book is a historic memoir that tells the story of the Halls Hill neighborhood from the perspective of the Jones family. 
  • From Freedman’s Village to Queen City – Center for Local History blog, January 31, 2018: Brief overview of the African American community Freedman’s Village, and its successor, Queen City, another African American community that was dismantled by the federal government to build the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. 
  • Green Valley Pharmacy – Center for Local History blog, February 22, 2019: Established in 1952, the Green Valley Pharmacy is the first (and only) pharmacy and lunch counter in Arlington that would serve African American patrons during the Jim Crow era. In 2013, Green Valley Pharmacy was named as an Historic District by the Arlington County Board, and founder Dr. Leonard “Doc” Muse was honored by the Arlington NAACP with the Community Appreciation Award. 
  • A View from Hall’s Hill: African American Community Development in Arlington, Virginia from the Civil War to the Turn of the Century – Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Arlington Historical Magazine, vol. 15, no. 3, 2015: This paper tracks the Hall’s Hill neighborhood’s history from its earliest development, and how the residents there helped shape the County as a whole. 
  • How Eminent Domain Destroyed an Arlington Community – Nancy Perry, Arlington Historical Magazine, vol. 16, no. 1, 2017: For 50 years, from 1892 until 1942, a bustling African American neighborhood was located in Arlington County, Virginia, on a wedge of land now occupied by a portion of the road system west of the Pentagon building. This paper discusses the loss of the East Arlington neighborhood to eminent domain and construction of the Pentagon building. 
  • The Bottom: An African American Community Rediscovered – Jessica Kaplan, Arlington Historical Magazine, vol. 16, no. 2, 2018: Details “The Bottom,” an African-American neighborhood by the west end of the Chain Bridge that was established before the Civil War, and that stood through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, segregation, and suburbanization. 

County Naming

Street Naming

Redlining

  • Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America – University of Richmond, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland: While not Arlington-specific, this digital project focuses on redlining across the country, with information and maps/data sets from many American cities. 
  • Mapping Segregation in Washington DC – Prologue, DC, 2020: “The ongoing, lot-by-lot documentation of racial deed covenants is set in the context of DC’s demographic transformation over the course of several decades. Primary documents, archival news clippings, photographs, and oral testimony also contribute to the stories these maps tell.” 
  • Racial Inequities in the Washington, DC, Region – Leah HendeyUrban Institute, Washington Area Research Initiative, December 2017: Briefing on equity gaps in the DC region, including information on demographics, education, income, employment, housing, and mobility. 

Housing/Zoning

County Resources

  • Resources for Immigrants – Arlington County: County site with resources related to immigrants, including legal aid services, current events, and resources for community organizations. 
  • Essential Guide to Arlington County’s Comprehensive Plan – Arlington County CPHDThe document guides coordinated development on community services including: land use, transportation networks, transportation modes, parking, historic preservation, affordable housing, sanitary sewer system, recycling, public spaces, natural resources, urban forestry, public art, community energy, water distribution, Chesapeake Bay preservation, and stormwater management. 
  • Open Arlington – Arlington County: County portal for accessing data related to County programs and services. 

Places to Visit

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