This weekend, Arlington County residents can get a taste of their own local Black history at the 22nd annual Feel the Heritage Festival.
The free event will be held in the Arlington View neighborhood, on Saturday, Feb. 22, from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Carver Community Center (1415 S. Queen Street). Festival-goers will be able to experience African American history and culture through food, art, and entertainment.
The event will include a “Hall of History” with unique photos and artifacts from Arlington churches and organizations, live music from the Howard University Gospel Choir, a performance by Step Afrika!, and a soul food menu by Bar-B-Que At Its Best.
The event will also host several vendors and children’s activities which include face painting, and a community wreath project made up of hand prints. Parking is limited, but shuttles running from the Pentagon City Metro station and the Drew Community Center will be available starting at 11:45 a.m.
Arlington County has a rich African American history. According to the National Park Service, Arlington House, or the Robert E. Lee Memorial, was not only the home of Robert E. Lee, but was also built by, and home to over 60 slaves. Arlington was also home to two historic African American communities: Freedman’s Village, which was formed by freed slaves during the Civil War, and Queen City, which was formed by decedents of Freedman’s Village and which was eventually razed in order to build the Pentagon.
In addition, Arlington’s Stratford Junior High School was the first public school to integrate after the legendary Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954, according to the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington.
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