This fall (date TBA), the Reformed Institute will hold a reflective walk in Old Town Alexandria to sites that mark key moments in the story of Presbyterians, white privilege, and racial justice from colonial days to the present. Plans are being developed for a truth and contemplation walk to these sites:
Presbyterian cemetery: where white slaveholders and workers for abolition are buried side by side.
The Freedom House: now a Museum built on one of the largest holding pens for enslaved peoples, often “owned” by white Presbyterians like Carlyle and Alexander, but with their own stories of resistance and dignity.
Site of Appomattox Statue to dead soldiers, including white Presbyterians, who fought for the “the Lost Cause,” but recently removed by the city after VA law changed.
Beulah Baptist Church: founded by a graduate of Presbyterian Ashmun Institute (PA) for African-Americans, and site of first theological school founded for former slaves during Reconstruction.
Alexandria Academy: first semi-public school for whites in Alexandria, organized and lead by Presbyterians, and supported by George Washington’s scholarships for poorer students. Robert E. Lee was schooled here.
Old Presbyterian Meeting House: colonial church founded by city fathers, with prominent slave “owners,” some slavery resisters who assisted Quakers, and some black congregants.
Contraband and Freedman’s Cemetery: burial site of those who struggled with antebellum white supremacy and those who successfully escaped slavery during Reconstruction. Their stories continue to inspire and guide present struggles for racial justice.
Stay tuned for more details, safety protocol, and final date, probably late September. This walk is dedicated to engaging Reformed history with all its voices, and as a resource for engaging white dominance and furthering racial justice.