Alexandria Community Remembrance Project: Public Programs
Alexandria Community Remembrance Project: Public Programs
These programs were sponsored by the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project. Videos of past programs are posted with permission from the speakers.
ACRP Committee Meetings
The committees further understanding of Alexandria’s history with racial terror. By engaging in public programs, a pilgrimage to EJI to deliver soil representative of McCoy and Thomas, an essay contest and community dialogue, Alexandria will receive a pillar. See info on past and upcoming meetings.
Joseph McCoy Remembrance Wreath Laying (April 23, 2023)
April 23, 2023
On April 23, 2023, Alexandria held an annual memorial for Joseph McCoy, a young man lynched in 1897. The memorial service included a procession from the doors of the old police station at City Hall where he was kidnapped by a white mob to the corner of Cameron and Lee Streets where he was lynched. The remembrance concluded with a wreath-laying.
What is Justice? Community Meeting (April 22, 2023)
April 22, 2023
Charles Houston Recreation Center Gymnasium
At this Joseph McCoy remembrance event, Bilqis Wilkerson, Managing Director at the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University defines what restorative or transformational justice means. Her presentation explores how communities can address the historic wrongs of enslavement, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration in a positive way that brings justice, healing, and transformation. This event was held to continue the conversation about how to reckon with racial terror events in Alexandria’s past.
ACRP Pilgrimage to EJI, Montgomery Alabama
ACRP Pilgrimage to EJI, Montgomery Alabama
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP), members of the community and ACHS students went on a pilgrimage to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum, delivering soil collected from locations that symbolically reflect the lives of Alexandria’s two known lynching victims – Joseph McCoy and Benjamin Thomas.
Soil Collection Remembrance Event (September 24, 2022)
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) held a Soil Collection Ceremony in memory of Alexandria’s two lynching victims, Joseph McCoy and Benjamin Thomas.
In Memoriam 2022: Benjamin Thomas (August 8, 2022)
August 8, 2022
The City of Alexandria invited the community to remember the 1899 lynching of Benjamin Thomas and the heroes who tried to defend him, at a ceremony on Market Square. Learn more.
In Memoriam 2022: Joseph McCoy (April 23, 2022)
April 23, 2022
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) invited the public to a community reflection on Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m. at Market Square to mark the 125th year since Joseph McCoy was brutally lynched. Learn more about the 2022 Memorial.
Le Tour d'Alexandria Bike Ride (April 9, 2022)
April 9, 2022. 10 a.m.
Beatley Central Library
This leisurely ride began at 10 a.m. at Beatley Central Library, is approximately 12 miles long, and ends back where it began. The public was invited to bring your bike and join library staff for this 2.5-hour ride.
The theme for this ride is “resilience” and featured points of interest that reflect the resilience of Alexandria communities past and present, the growth of diverse neighborhoods, and includes the commemoration of the lynching of Joseph McCoy.
Reparations at VTS: Uncovering a Not So Hidden History Part II (March 30, 2022)
A virtual program
Originally presented March 30, 2022
See Part I below, March 24, 2021
In September 2019, Virginia Theological Seminary announced the creation of a reparations endowment fund and the intent to research, uncover, and recognize African Americans who toiled under the oppression of VTS during slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era. The March 30th lecture looks at the program’s progress providing reparations to descendants since March 2021’s lecture and overview. This year, Ebonee Davis, will provide an update to the program and speak with one of the descendants about what the VTS reparations program has meant to their family.
Ebonee Davis, Associate for Multicultural Ministries Programming and Historical Research for Reparations with VTS, will update the research findings and implementation of VTS’ Reparations Program. Davis is a public historian with nearly 15 years’ experience working for local, state, and national institutions in the Americas and Africa. With VTS, she is coordinating the research efforts of the VTS’ Reparations Program and works directly with the program’s descendant families.
This event is sponsored by the Alexandria Historical Society, Alexandria Black History Museum, and the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project.
Irma Stern and the Paradox of South African Art (March 24, 2022)
Virtual program presented on March 24, 2022
Dr. LaNitra Berger presented a lecture on South African artist Irma Stern’s complex life and work. Dr. Berger discussed her recently published book, “Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color,” which explores how Stern became South Africa’s most prolific and controversial painter. Stern depicted the lives of people who are of black, Jewish and mixed race origins, while maintaining a neutral position on apartheid. A discussion with Rabbi David Spinrad, a member of the ACRP Steering Committee, followed the lecture.
A White Historian Explores “Race Riots” (February 12, 2022)
Virtual program presented on February 12, 2022
Violent clashes between large crowds of different races have disturbed the social order in the United States since long before the Civil War, and the phrase “race riot” has been used to describe such disparate events as the Tulsa massacre of 1921, the 1968 uprisings following the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the anti-Chinese riots of the 1870s. Susan Strasser investigates the term, and a history of racially charged violence that has framed American discussions of race throughout the nation’s history. Strasser provides a reading list on this topic.
Community Remembrance Project: A Path to Truth and Justice (February 8, 2022)
Virtual program presented on February 8, 2022
Cyan Blackwell and Trey Walk from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) talk about EJI and the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project’s (ACRP) work with them to educate Alexandria citizens about the lynchings that occurred in Alexandria of Joseph McCoy in 1897 and Benjamin Thomas in 1899.
How the Monuments Came Down (October 20, 2021)
A Virtual Film Screening and Discussion
Presented October 20, 2021
This event is a joint program of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project and the Alexandria Historical Society
"How the Monuments Came Down,” produced by Field Studio in association with VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, is a timely and searing look at the history of white supremacy and Black resistance in Richmond. The feature-length film — brought to life by history-makers, descendants, scholars, and activists — reveals how monuments to Confederate leaders stood for more than a century, and why they fell. This virtual discussion was a live, public presentation on October 20, 2021. The panel includes public historian Lauranett Lee, Eugene Thompson, past member of the Alexandria Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Confederate Memorials and Street Names, and the filmmakers Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren. At the time of this posting, the film can be viewed on PBS.
Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren are Emmy-winning married documentary filmmakers whose production company, Field Studio, is based in Richmond, Virginia. They collaborated as Directors, Producers, and editors for How the Monuments Came Down. Ayers and Warren’s work also extends to other media where they continue to highlight African American history and the struggle for social justice.
Dr. Lauranett Lee is a public historian specializing in teaching, advocating, and collaborating with diverse community and academic audiences. She is a fulltime lecturer at the University of Richmond. Lee is the historian for Virginia Africana Associates and the former Curator of African American History at the Virginia Historical Society. She is the author of Making the American Dream Work: A Cultural History of African Americans in Hopewell, Virginia. Lee consults with museums, churches and community organizations and serves on several boards and commissions.
Eugene Thompson, a native Alexandrian, was the first Director of the Alexandria Black History Resource Center (now the Alexandria Black History Museum.) Mr. Thompson was also the Senior Curator at the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Public Art Director for the city of Philadelphia. He received his BA in History from Marquette University and MS Ed. in Leadership in Museum Education from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education.
Benjamin Thomas Remembrance Event (August 8, 2021)
In Memoriam 2021: Benjamin Thomas, August 8, 1899
The City of Alexandria is committed to the accurate dissemination of its history. The murder of Benjamin Thomas is recognized as a terrible chapter in Alexandria’s past. A remembrance program, wreath-laying and marker unveiling was held on Market Square on August 8, 2021.
August 3, 2021: Historian LaNitra M. Berger explored how lynching photography and representations of lynching in American art provide historical information and context for racial violence in the United States. This was a free virtual program
Throughout the weekend of August 6–9, Alexandria City Hall, Carlyle House and the George Washington Masonic Memorial were illuminated in purple, the color of mourning. This lighting is intended to demonstrate belated accountability for the incident, while showing honor and respect for Thomas.
August 8: a remembrance program, wreath-laying, and marker unveiling were held at Market Square and at the lynching site (near the corner of King and Fairfax Streets) as part of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project. Visitors could pay their respects by visiting the site and learning about the lynching. Thomas’ death was one of two documented lynchings in Alexandria. Between 1882 and 1968, 11 documented lynchings occurred in Northern Virginia and 100 occurred in the Commonwealth.
Lynching Photography, Memory & Violence (August 3, 2021)
A Virtual Lecture by LaNitra M. Berger
Presented on August 3, 2021
Lynching was an important method of enforcing white supremacy in America for more than a century. Through the constant threat of extreme racial violence, lynching served to control Black communities politically, socially, and culturally. This lecture will discuss how lynching photography and representations of lynching in American art provide historical information and context for racial violence in the United States. We will also discuss how lynching photography has shaped our understanding of depictions of racial violence in contemporary society.
LaNitra M. Berger is an award-winning scholar, educator, and social justice advocate working towards making higher education accessible to low-income, first-generation, and minority students. Her scholarly interests are in art and social activism in the African and Jewish diasporas. For over 15 years, her work as an educator focuses on creating and expanding education abroad opportunities for underrepresented students, particularly in international education. LaNitra is the author of Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants (NAFSA, 2016) and the monograph, Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color (Bloomsbury, 2020). She is also the editor of Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, and Perspectives (NAFSA, 2020). LaNitra earned a BA in art and international relations from Stanford University and an MA and PhD in art history from Duke University.
Community Remembrance Project Lecture Series (March-June, 2021)
Virtual programs presented March-June, 2021
A series of four free lectures with historian Susan Strasser supporting the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project.
Susan Strasser is an award-winning historian and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. She has been praised by the New Yorker for "retrieving what history discards: The taken-for-granted minutiae of everyday life."
- "A White Historian Confronts Slavery." Reading list.
- "A White Historian Confronts Lynching." With Poet Marcia Cole. Reading List.
- "A White Historian Explores Black Voting Rights." Reading List
- "A White Historian Confronts Residential Segregation.” Reading List.
The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America (May 11, 2021)
Virtual program presented on May 11, 2021
Historian Joshua D Rothman presents his new book, The Ledger and the Chain. Rothman recounts the shocking story of the domestic slave trade by tracing the lives and careers of Isaac Franklin, John Armfield, and Rice Ballard, who built the largest and most powerful slave-trading operation in American history. Donations to the Freedom House Museum, once headquarters of Franklin & Armfield, are welcome.
Joseph McCoy Remembrance (April 23, 2021)
In Memoriam 2021: Joseph McCoy April 23, 1897
The City of Alexandria’s Community Remembrance Project invited Alexandrians to join in the remembrance of Joseph McCoy, a black teenage resident who was killed by a lynch mob at the corner of Lee and Cameron Streets in 1897.
Also view the 2020 In Memoriam page and read the ACRP Newsletter, April 2021.
Reparations at Virginia Theological Seminary (March 24, 2021)
Virtual lecture, presented on March 24, 2021.
In September 2019, Virginia Theological Seminary announced the creation of a reparations endowment fund and the intent to research, uncover, and recognize African Americans who toiled under the oppression of VTS during slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era. Ebonee Davis, Associate for Multicultural Ministries Programming and Historical Research for Reparations with VTS, shares the research findings and implementation of VTS’ Reparations Program. Davis is a public historian with nearly 15 years experience working for local, state, and national institutions in the Americas and Africa. With VTS, she is coordinating the research efforts of the VTS’ Reparations Program and works directly with the program’s descendant families. This virtual event was sponsored by the Alexandria Historical Society, Alexandria Black History Museum, and the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project.
Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy (January 28, 2021)
Virtual lecture presented on January 28, 2021
Lecture with the author, Joshua Bell.
For whites, to have a Klansman in the family tree is no rare thing. Demographic estimates suggest that fifty percent of whites in the United States have at least one ancestor who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan at some point in its history. Edward Ball, a descendant of a Klansman, tells the story of his ancestor. Ball’s great-great grandfather, Constant Lecorgne, had a career in white terror of notable and bloody completeness: massacres, night riding, masked marches, street rampages―all part of a tireless effort that he and other Klansmen made to restore white power when it was threatened by the emancipation of four million enslaved African Americans. To offer a non-white view of the Ku-klux, Ball includes the voices of descendants of African Americans who were once victimized by “our Klansman.”
The American L.O.W.S. (January 23, 2021)
Virtual Film Screening and Panel Discussion presented on January 23, 2021
The American L.O.W.S. (The American Legacy of White Supremacy), is a documentary created by Darnley R. Hodge, Jr. Immediately following the film screening was a panel discussion with filmmaker Darnley R. Hodge Jr. and historians from the film. The panel was moderated by Reverend Professor Quardricos Driskell. Mr. Driskell is pastor of historic Beulah Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, an adjunct professor of Religion and Politics at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and a member of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee. This film screening was sponsored by the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project, a city-wide initiative dedicated to helping Alexandria understand its history of racial terror hate crimes and to work toward creating a welcoming community bound by equity and inclusion.
This panel discussion with the filmmaker, Darnley R. Hodge Jr, and historians from the film occurred immediately following a virtual film screening through the Office of Historic Alexandria. The American LOWS (Legacy Of White Supremacy) is an interview-based documentary that examines the global system of white supremacy and the evolution of that system in America. The panel will be moderated by Reverend Professor Quardricos Driskell. Mr. Driskell is pastor of historic Beulah Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, an adjunct professor of Religion and Politics at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and a member of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee.
The film can be purchased at TheAmericanLOWS.com. At the time of this film screening, The American L.O.W.S. was also available on Amazon.com.
A Conversation: Attorney Philip Hirschkop (December 9, 2020)
Virtual program presented on December 9, 2020
This conversation with Civil Rights Attorney Philip Hirschkop about the Loving Case and his groundbreaking legal career will inspire you. He is interviewed by Jean Kelleher, Director of the Office on Human Rights. Mr. Hirschkop also answers questions about his Supreme Court cases, his work on prison reform, and he remembers some of his past clients who have included Martin Luther King, Jr., H. Rap Brown, Norman Mailer and the America Nazi Party.
This conversation is sponsored by the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project. It’s the first of a series of conversations we will host periodically with social justice leaders. The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) is a city-wide initiative dedicated to helping Alexandria understand its history of racial terror hate crimes and to work toward creating a welcoming community bound by equity and inclusion.
Two oral history interviews were conducted with Mr. Hirschkop and transcripts are provided below.
January 15, 2020
This meeting was held at 7:30 p.m., Beth El Hebrew Congregation (3830 Seminary Rd.)
November 16, 2019
This meeting was held from 1 to 3 p.m., Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center (1108 Jefferson St.)
September 21, 2019
This meeting was held from 1 to 3 p.m., Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.)
- Meeting Agenda
- Presentation Slides: Looking Back to Looking Forward
A brief overview of Alexandria's African American history
- Presentation Slides: Taking the Next Steps: Alexandria's Community Remembrance Project
- Presentation Slides: Lynchings in Alexandria
An historic overview
An Evening with Bryan Stevenson (March 28, 2023)
An Evening with Bryan Stevenson
Members of the community joined the ACRP on a bus trip to Charlottesville to hear Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, speak at the John Paul Jones Arena.