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A new timeline from Arlington County tracks how local policy decisions in the 20th Century disadvantaged people of color, particularly Black residents.

The county has released two timelines, spanning 1930-45 and 1946-60, which recount how policies and projects — touching on housing, education, transportation, planning and infrastructure — segregated Arlington. It also chronicles how Black residents responded by investing in their communities, getting into local government, protesting and going to the courts.

“This timeline will allow us to take inventory of who we are, where we have been, and how we are growing and evolving as we normalize, organize and operationalize racial equity,” said Arlington’s Chief Race and Equity Officer Samia Byrd. “It will help ground us in facts, communicate the importance of why we lead with race in addressing systemic inequities as a government, and remind our community that racism is real and why it matters.”

Once complete, the historical resource will span from the early 1600s to present day. For now, here are some of the important events that the county included from 1930-45:

  • 1930s: The Hall’s Hill “Segregation Wall,” separating the majority-white neighborhood of Woodlawn and the majority-Black neighborhood, goes up.
  • 1931-32: Route 50 is built and the streetcars between Washington D.C. and Mount Vernon are shut down, cementing the county’s racial divides.
  • 1932: Hoffman-Boston Junior High School opened and would later become a high school. Up until this point, Black students’ education ended after primary school.
  • 1932: After switching from an appointed County Board to an elected one, Dr. Edward T. Morton, the county’s first Black physician, became one of the first Black Arlingtonians to run for office. (It took 55 years for a Black candidate to win a County Board election.)
  • 1940s: Pentagon construction displaced 225 African-American families, or 810 people. They were relocated to two trailer camps near Columbia Pike and in Green Valley.
  • 1943: Without public transit, and with lower rates of car ownership, Black residents founded Friendly Cab in Green Valley and Crown Cab in Hall’s Hill to connect their communities to the region.

While Arlington recently honored the story of four students who desegregated Stratford Junior High School in 1959, the road to desegregating schools, mired in lawsuits and bureaucracy, began more than a decade prior and continued after their first day.

From 1946-60, here are some significant moments related to the struggle for an equal, integrated Arlington:

  • 1946: D.C. ruled that Arlington students attending D.C. schools would have to pay tuition. Many Black Arlingtonians sent their kids to D.C. schools because they had more resources than the county’s segregated public schools.
  • 1947: Constance Carter sued the Arlington School Board because facilities at the all-Black Hoffman-Boston High School were unequal to those at the all-white Washington-Lee High School.
  • 1950: A federal judge reversed the district court’s ruling in favor of the School Board. The county was forced to invest in segregated Black schools and Black teachers were given the same salary as white instructors.
  • 1951: Fire Station 8, the all Black-volunteer fire station that served Black communities, received its first county-paid firefighter — 10 years after the other stations.
  • 1953: The Veteran’s Memorial YMCA pool opened, serving “non-white” residents barred from other county facilities. The county opened its first integrated community center at Lubber Run Park in 1956.
  • 1960: A sit-in at the People’s Drug Store in Cherrydale protesting segregated lunch counters kicked off a month of sit-ins. Woolworth’s store in Shirlington was the first to announce it was desegregating; 21 lunch counters followed suit.

The county will host a discussion next Wednesday (July 21) via Facebook Live at 7 p.m. called “Race Matters: Anticipating our Future, Examining our Past.”

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Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in and around Arlington County. If you’d like your event considered, fill out the event submission form to submit it to our event calendar.

Monday, June 14

Arlington County’s Election System — Models for Reform (Part I)*
Via Zoom
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Arlington Civic Federation is considering whether to suggest improvements in Arlington’s form of government and electoral system, considering alternative electoral options that might suit the County’s size.

Tuesday, June 15

Home buying 101: A Webinar for First-Time Home Buyers*
Via Zoom
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m.

A home buying seminar hosted by the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union will walk those interested through the mortgage process and other introductory home-buying steps.

Wednesday, June 16

Virginia Fair Housing Certification*
Via Zoom
Time: 1-3 p.m.

The Northern Virginia Apartment Association is hosting and training program for a variety of legal and contract issues related to property management. Program attendees who participate in the program on-camera will receive certification.

Thursday, June 17

CrafTEA
Online via Library
Time: 3-4 p.m.

The Arlington Public Library is hosting a free “tea and crafts” program every third Thursday of each month. Attendees can either bring their own crafts to work on or receive coloring pages and other activities from library staff.

Friday, June 18

Fridays at the Fountain
Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive)
Time: 5-8 p.m.

The National Landing BID is continuing its summer event series Fridays at the Fountain this Friday with a band called The JoGo Project and the Peruvian Brothers food stand. Due to COVID restrictions, there will be strict attendance caps in place and pre-registration will be required to attend. Children under two do not need a ticket. There will be no standing room and masks will be required at all times when not seated.

Saturday, June 19

Become a Better Communicator and Leader: Join the SALT Toastmasters Club*
Online event
Time: 2-4 p.m.

The SALT Toastmasters Club is hosting its monthly meeting with an introduction to the how-to’s of communication and leadership, and to build connections with other seasoned and aspiring toastmasters across the region. The event is free with a meeting link sent on registration.

Virtual Juneteenth Celebration
Online event
Time: 2-3 p.m.

Washington Revels Jubilee Voices is partnering with the Alexandria Black History Museum to present the ensemble’s first Juneteenth Celebration, a holiday that marks the anniversary of the date slavery was fully abolished. The musical production was filmed across local historic sites and will be accompanied by a virtual presentation on Saturday.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event.

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Morning Notes

Yorktown Grad Sets Record at Olympic Trials — “18-Year-Old Arlington Aquatic Club swimmer Torri Huske just exploded in the first heat of women’s 100 fly semifinals, breaking the American Record. After showing off her speed this morning, splitting under World Record pace on the first 50, Huske blasted a 55.78 to touch first tonight. The swim marks a personal best by nearly a full second, and makes Huske just the 2nd American of all-time to break 56 seconds in the event.” [SwimSwam, Twitter, Twitter]

Amazon Adopts Hybrid Office Schedule — “We’ve adjusted our guidance on our plans for returning to the office and added more clarity. Going forward, we’ve decided to offer Amazonians a mix of working between the office and home… Our new baseline will be three days a week in the office (with the specific days being determined by your leadership team), leaving you flexibility to work remotely up to two days a week.” [Amazon]

Arlington Man Imprisoned for Harassment — “For more than a decade, the employees of a Washington think tank were traumatized by an unlikely harasser: a career Foreign Service officer. In hundreds of emails and voicemails, he called them ‘Arab American terrorist murderers’ and ranted about how they should be cleansed. Yet there was almost nothing they could do.” [Washingtonian]

Marymount Gets Federal Grant — “Marymount University has established a new fellowship program to prepare Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates to serve high-needs populations and meet the demands of a growing profession. A $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will fund 84 fellowships for students within the University’s School of Counseling.” [Press Release]

Reflections on Halls Hill History — “One of those local historians is Wilma Jones, who grew up in the mostly Black community of Halls Hill in Arlington, Virginia. Now the neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying and Black families like hers have been pushed out. Today, Jones says it’s too late to save Grandma’s house, but it’s not too late to save her history.” [With Good Reason]

Vote: Favorite Outdoor Dining Spot — There’s one day left in the voting for this week’s Arlies category: Favorite Outdoor Dining Spot. [ARLnow]

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Morning Notes

Report Details ACPD Actions at Lafayette Park — “The ACPD civil disturbance unit commander told us that ACPD officers were not equipped with chemical irritants other than rounds similar to pepper ball but said the ACPD did deploy inert smoke and a flash bang grenade on 16th Street during the clearing operation.” [Dept. of Interior, DCist]

Arlington Sit-ins Remembered With Art — “Sixty-one years ago this month, several Howard University students and allies walked into the People’s Drug Store on Lee Highway in Arlington. For the next two weeks, they participated in sit-ins to protest white-only lunch counters across the county. Now, there is a special exhibit and letter pressed cards to mark this moment of Arlington’s civil rights history.” [NBC 4]

Cicada Sundae at Local Ice Cream Shop — “Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee in Arlington is offering a Cicada Sundae. Don’t worry. It’s not made with real cicadas. The frozen treat comes with one scoop each of chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and café au lait, topped with chocolate sprinkles, two red M&Ms and a waffle cone…  The waffle cones are fashioned to look like wings and the M&Ms as eyes.” [Patch, WTOP]

Del. Levine’s Farewell Message — From Del. Mark Levine, after falling short in his reelection bid and run for lieutenant governor: “I’ve had the honor of impacting positive change in the world in so many ways already through decades of activism, thousands of radio and tv shows, and dozens of laws. Whatever the future holds for me, I know I will never stop speaking out against injustice.” [Twitter]

Candidate Adds Military Rank to His Name — “Major Mike Webb, who has floated around the periphery of the Northern Virginia political scene for nearly the past decade, qualified for the School Board ballot. He will be the lone opposition to [Mary] Kadera, who last month won the Democratic endorsement over Miranda Turner… (‘Major’ was Webb’s military rank but now also is a formal part of his name, as he did requisite legal paperwork add it.)” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Arlington House’s Hidden History — “On Tuesday, the historic mansion in Arlington National Cemetery reopens after a renovation that has recaptured the glory of the house, along with clues to the secret lives of the enslaved Black people who were the main occupants of the land where it stood.” [Washington Post, NBC 4]

Developer Looks to Expand in Arlington — “One of JBG Smith Properties’ top executives handling the company’s massive Arlington portfolio — and its relationship with Amazon.com Inc. — has jumped to another developer. Longtime JBG Smith Executive Vice President Andy Van Horn made the move to Dweck Properties on May 17… he aims to transform Dweck from a small family company with a focus on apartment management to an active developer of properties in National Landing,” [Washington Business Journal]

Smash and Grab Theft in Pentagon City — “At approximately 6:57 p.m. on June 5, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that the two male suspects entered the business, smashed the glass display cases containing merchandise, stole several items and fled the scene in a waiting vehicle.” [ACPD]

County Board Resumes In-Person Meetings — “After more than a year participating in meetings largely from their own rec rooms or similar spaces, Arlington County Board members will be back on the dais later this month. ‘The board is looking forward to holding board meetings and interacting with the community in-person safely and responsibly,’ County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti told the Sun Gazette.” [Sun Gazette]

Baby Deer Found Near Fire Station — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “This tiny (and we really mean tiny) fawn was found in the parking lot of a local fire station. Due to his location and condition, our officers knew they had to step in and help this little guy. He is now safe and sound with a local wildlife rehabber!” [Twitter]

GOP Questions Dem Caucus — “A key leader of the Arlington County Republican Committee last week mused publicly whether the powers-that-be of the Arlington County Democratic Committee put their thumbs on the scale to help a School Board candidate across the finish line. The Democratic leadership, in response, said the GOP attack line is based on a faulty supposition.” [Sun Gazette]

Masks Still Required Inside APS Buildings — “Fully vaccinated individuals may now remove their masks when outside on school grounds and are exempt from quarantine if identified in contact tracing. Masks are required for everyone while inside our facilities and schools. These measures are subject to change as we anticipate additional revised guidance for schools prior to the start of the new school year.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Man Clinging to Side of Overpass Stops Traffic — “I-66 and a portion of N. Glebe Road [are] currently blocked due to a man who was hanging off the side of the overpass. The man is now in police custody and the roads are reopening.” [Twitter]

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(Updated 4:35 p.m.) A 140-year-old historic home in Arlington owned and built by Harry Gray, who was formerly enslaved at Arlington House, is for sale with an asking price of $915,000.

“A masonry D.C. row house with the convenience of an Arlington location,” reads the real estate listing. “As soon as you walk in from your front porch the home shines with its exposed brick and tall ceilings & windows, giving it a spacious, cozy feel.”

Located at 1005 S. Quinn Street, right off of Columbia Pike, the building is on the National Register for Historic Places and is protected by the county under the “historic district” designation. This means that certain exterior alterations have to be approved by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB).

Harry W. Gray built the house in 1881 as a home for him and his wife, Martha, herself, formerly enslaved on James Madison’s Montpelier plantation.

The son of Selina Gray, Harry was born at Robert E. Lee’s Arlington House estate and was enslaved there until he was 12 years old. According to Virginia law at the time, he was property of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington’s step-grandson and the father-in-law of Robert E. Lee.

After that, he lived at nearby Freedman’s Village and worked at local brickyards where he honed his skills as a mason. Later, he became an employee of the U.S. Patent Office and, inspired by the rowhouses he saw while working downtown, built one for his family in Arlington, near Freedman’s Village.

Constructed in the fashionable Italianate style of the late 19th century, the home is two stories tall with a solid brick foundation and standing-seam metal shallow-pitched shed roof. To this day, the home is a rare example of a brick rowhouse in the county.

“It’s a visible relic of a formerly enslaved person from Arlington House and Freedman’s Village, who went on to become middle class,” local author and historian Charlie Clark tells ARLnow about the house.

However, owning a historic home of this nature comes with a unique responsibility.

In 1984, the Harry Gray House became one of the first buildings in the county to be given the historic district designation. Currently, there are 13 single-family homes with this designation in the county, with only a handful of those remaining private residences (the rest are owned by the county or state).

This protects the Harry Gray property from “insensitive alterations,” says Cynthia Liccese-Torres, Program Coordinator for Historic Preservation in Arlington County.

“It’s not owned by the county, but we are tasked with the responsibility of helping any owner be the proper steward of the house,” she says.

While the exterior is protected, that doesn’t mean alterations and changes can’t happen. Liccese-Torres explains that the county has no purview on what happens with the interior, hence why the listing notes the extensive work that’s gone on inside — one of a number of interior renovations over the years.

If the owner notices a rotting front column or a leaky roof, says Liccese-Torres, replacement with the exact same materials and with the dimensions are allowed to happen without approval.

These are known as “in-kind” replacements.

If the owner wanted to build an addition or enclose a front porch, that’s an example of something that would need to go through the HALRB. Requests of this nature have been approved in the recent past.

“Those approvals show this property continues to be adapted,” says Liccese-Torres. “Here we are in 2021 and changes are still allowed to happen. It’s not a static museum piece. It is a home that has been adapted to serve people’s needs over time.”

The house last went on sale in 2011 and was purchased by Cameron and Catherine Saadat.

“We [lived] in Old Town before that, so we had already kind of gotten the appreciation for older homes,” says Cameron. “We happened to see this come on the market and just kind of fell in love with the D.C.-style rowhouse.”

They paid about $387,000 for the house, which was in foreclosure. The couple says that, over the last decade, they’ve poured about $300,000 worth of work into the home, including a complete renovation of the interior.

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Morning Notes

Photographer Taking Silly Cicada Snaps —  “Oxana Ware is a talented photographer based out of North Arlington, but along with her business side, she likes to have fun and be a little silly at times. That’s why it just seemed right to her when she decided to have a full photoshoot with cicadas, complete with handmade props.” [WJLA]

County Marking Sit-In Anniversary With Art — “It was delayed a year due to the pandemic, but a commemoration marking the 1960 civil-rights sit-ins in Arlington is now beginning. The Arlington County government had planned to mark the 60th anniversary of sit-ins at Arlington lunch counters with special programming on the Arlington Art Truck, using prints by artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. to immerse the public in the experience, in 2020. But the effort was a victim of the pandemic – until now.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington-Based Axios Making Moves — Digital news outlet Axios, based in Clarendon, is launching local news publications in a number of cities this year, including Washington. It is also reportedly in discussions to be acquired by a German news conglomerate. [Washington Post, Marketwatch]

Masks Coming Off For APS Athletes — “It looks like Arlington school officials have abandoned their masks-on policy for most athletes while engaged in competition.” [Sun Gazette]

ACFD Assists with Potomac Search — “Person seen going into Potomac River & not resurfacing… [After a search involving D.C., Arlington and other water rescue teams, medics] transported an adult female in critical life threatening condition. Law enforcement will investigate the circumstances.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Secretary Pete at DCA This Afternoon — “U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Mary Kay Henry, International President of the two million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will host an immigration roundtable discussion with 32BJ SEIU’s airport workers at National Airport (DCA).” [Press Release]

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(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) In the latest episode of PBS’ Finding Your Roots, historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. helped guide six-time Tony-winner Audra McDonald on a tour of her family lineage — a journey that led her to a golf club in Arlington.

McDonald’s trip through her family tree started with her maternal grandfather, whom she credited as a major influencing force on her life. Her grandfather, Thomas Hardy Jones, was described by McDonald as “born into the depths of the Jim Crow era” but managing to build a respected career as an educator in historically Black institutions.

Her awareness of her mother’s paternal lineage ended there, but Gates took McDonald further to meet her great-grandfather: Clarence Jones.

“After stints as a miner and chauffeur, Clarence supported his family and paid for his son’s education by working in a locker room in a segregated golf club in Arlington, Virginia, where it seems he somehow managed to thrive,” Gates said.

Clarence Jones worked at Washington Golf & Country Club, the first golf club in Virginia and a prestigious regional institution that counted presidents Wilson, Taft and Harding as active members.

The club was segregated, however, and Clarence Jones worked at the club but could never play there. Only starting in the mid-1970s were Black and Jewish applicants granted membership, according to a book by former Northern Virginia Sun publisher Herman Obermayer.

Even so, Gates’ team found a newspaper article from the time that profiled Jones, in which he was described as indispensable and well-loved by the golfing community.

“[He is a] shoe shiner, story teller, match-maker, gambler and good friend all rolled into one,” Gates read from the newspaper. “Wherever you go around the nation’s capital, golfers ask about Clarence.”

McDonald said many of those traits described in Clarence Jones were passed down to his son, her grandfather.

Records showed that Clarence Jones’ parents were both born in D.C. shortly after the Civil War, but the paper trail ended there as their parents were likely enslaved.

McDonald said that learning about her great-grandfather was bittersweet knowing that he was held back by the racist institutions of his era.

“There’s a part of me that’s amazed and proud of my great-grandfather,” McDonald said, “but a part that hurts for him too.”

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This is set to be a pivotal year for how Arlington County represents itself in its logo and its infrastructure.

At the close of 2020, Arlington County kickstarted the process of updating its logo — a process that will soon be inviting public input — and this fall, County Board members expect to review a new framework for considering the possibility of new names for things like parks, streets and building.

Board member Christian Dorsey and NAACP President Julius “JD” Spain, Sr. previewed these upcoming changes during a recent discussion on renaming hosted by the Arlington Committee of 100, a group that talks about local issues.

Meanwhile, Marymount University assistant professor Cassandra Good shed light on the history of Arlington’s street naming and made recommendations for a new approach.

Spurred by a national discussion of systemic racism and police violence in 2019 and 2020, Arlington County is re-examining its logo, which depicts Arlington House: The Robert E. Lee Memorial, the former plantation home of the Confederate general and descendants of George Washington. The county is also reconsidering the names of various roads, parks and local landmarks named for Confederate generals and soldiers, slaveholders, plantations, and historic figures known for their racism.

That work is ongoing. A county logo review panel has received more than 250 submissions to consider and narrow down to five for the community to rank in May, Spain said. The County Board will select a new logo in June.

Meanwhile, county staff members are hammering out a formal process for naming and renaming places in Arlington going forward, to bring a systematic approach to what has so far been a case-by-case process.

“We expect that during the fall of this year, we will have a proposal from our county manager for how we ought to think about the renaming issue,” Dorsey said. “There’s going to be a lot more that comes with that, I expect.”

Some Committee of 100 members wondered whether the panelists think the county ought to change its name, too, given that the county is named after the plantation house that’s being removed from the logo.

Panelists said such a conversation could take place but changing the name Arlington would not only pose an extreme logistical challenge but may also not reflect a nuanced view of renaming.

“When we’re talking about changing the name of Arlington, it may come a time when we need to have that conversation,” Spain said. “But Arlington — I believe changing the name of a county is a pretty heavy lift.”

Dorsey said he is not in favor of throwing out everything that was the product of a certain time in history as “the poisonous fruit of a poisonous tree.”

A recurring question for officials tasked with renaming has been whether to swap one historical figure with another. The community could choose a person whose character could come into question later on, they said.

Good, the Marymount professor, said while her preference is not to use names of historical figures, there ought to be a few new historical figures featured.

“There need to be some names for people,” she said, otherwise, “the names that remain will mostly white people.”

Dorsey added that while the county can think beyond individuals, there will be some figures who community members will want to honor.

“I would hate to lose that entirely,” he said.

Good said Arlington first formalized a naming process for streets in 1932, when a commission of, as far as she can tell, all-white Arlington residents finalized the names for the county’s streets. Several — including Lafayette, Hamilton and Pocahontas Streets — were renamed at that time, she said.

Going forward, she recommended that all renaming decisions include those who have been excluded and involve a professional historian. Renaming should be considered if the current name was originally chosen to honor somebody for reasons that are at odds with the community’s values, she said.

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Lyon’s Legacy is a limited-run opinion column on the history of housing in Arlington. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

Arlington County was once home to a community of former slaves so prosperous that tours were given to foreign dignitaries as evidence of America’s racial progress.

Today, just about the only physical trace of Freedman’s Village is a plaque on a highway overpass. Some of the descendants of that community remain in Arlington today, but for others, exile has been made permanent.

This is the second part of Lyon’s Legacy, a biweekly series on ARLnow (you can read the whole thing, with citations, here). It will tell an eight-part history of how Black people, and other groups that experience racial or economic discrimination, have been excluded from living in Arlington County. Last week, the story started with Freedman’s Village. But with the destruction of that community comes the arrival of Frank Lyon and others who willfully embedded white supremacy into our county’s laws and urban planning.

What those men did is still with us, a century later.

By the 1880s, the county’s white leaders began to agitate against Freedman’s Village. One of Virginia’s U.S. senators called it “improper that government property should be continually occupied by squatters who have no interest in it such as to stimulate improvements.” These ‘squatters’ were residents who had worked to build on the land for a quarter-century, paid rent, and paid municipal, state, and federal taxes of all kinds. But they were Black, and their law-abiding industry didn’t turn a profit for white real-estate developers in the county. The government issued eviction orders at the beginning of winter, 1887. Mt. Zion Baptist Church, like all the other people, businesses, and institutions in Freedman’s Village, had to go.

The diaspora of Freedman’s Village took root across the county and beyond. The forbearing evictees settled in middle-class Black communities like Johnson’s Hill, Butler-Holmes, and Green Valley, as well as poorer areas like the farms of Hall’s Hill and the bustling Queen City. Queen City was so egalitarian that some residents later recalled that “a man sometimes didn’t know he was poor until he was 27 years old.” But Queen City isn’t on any Arlington map today. Only fifty years later, the government demolished their homes a second time — not to build the Pentagon, but to build the Pentagon’s freeway exit.

In the late 19th century, the county’s Black community had political power. No fewer than five Black men served on the County Board between 1871 and 1888: William A. Rowe, John B. Syphax, Travis B. Pinn, John W. Pendleton, and Tibbett Allen. Tibbett Allen lost his seat under suspicious circumstances and was replaced by a white Confederate veteran. There were no more Board members of color for a full century afterwards.

After the dispersal of Freedman’s Village, before the turn of the century, there were Black neighborhoods, there were white neighborhoods, and there was Rosslyn. Rosslyn was a residential district inhabited by working-class Black people. They were attracted by the chance to live so close to the Federal jobs across the river, where racial discrimination in employment wasn’t quite as intense.

Rosslyn was also “Dead Man’s Hollow,” a thicket of saloons, gamblers, and sex workers. It attracted white Washingtonian drinkers, too, on the merit of its location: The county was outside the jurisdiction of Washington’s cops, but close enough that a drunk who’d blown his streetcar fare on cards could teeter home across a bridge. And the county maintained a police force totalling two — not enough for a crackdown.

But what made Rosslyn special wasn’t the Black people or the saloons — it was their combination. These saloons weren’t segregated. At least one was Black-owned. These were tables where spades and diamonds meant more than black and white.

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Lunch-In (Man at Segregated Diner) on the wall of Amy Schumer’s home (photo via Amy Schumer/Instagram)

The struggle to desegregate Arlington occupies not only local historical significance, but apparently a place of honor in the foyer of comedian Amy Schumer.

As noted by the Twitter account of Arlington’s planning office, Schumer recently posted posted a photo on Instagram yesterday that highlights a painting hanging on her wall.

The painting is by artist Julian Joseph Kyle — who specializes in work related to slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement — and based on a photo by Washington Star photographer Gus Chinn.

It shows a Black protestor, Dion Diamond, sitting at a segregated lunch counter at the Cherrydale Drug Fair in Arlington on June 10, 1960. The protester, who was part of an integrated group called the Non-Violent Action Group, is being harassed by white patrons.

Last year marked the 60th anniversary of a series of lunch counter sit-ins in Arlington, during which demonstrators endured harassment from white students, police officers, and Neo-Nazis.

The demonstrations continued through the summer and eventually some stores that had discriminated against Black customers changed their policies and integrating their lunch counters.

Schumer, who has previously faced controversy for making racist caricatures, said in a social media post that the painting hangs by her front door as a constant reminder.

“It’s called Lunch-In (Man At Segregated Diner) it’s by our front door so I see it before I go out into the world,” Schumer wrote.

Image via Amy Schumer/Instagram

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