My name is Annie Woo and I’m excited to share my project with you all.
I will be working with Dr. Krystyn Moon from the University of Mary Washington on my individual project as well as working alongside her being a city intern with Arlington County’s African American Waterfront Trail Project. Both projects entail tedious work examining documents and putting the lost pieces of history together.
For my individual project, I will be making a documentary on Alfred Odrick, a freed slave who created the groundworks for the African American community in my neighborhood of McLean. I have broken the documentary up into five sections: Land, Education, Church, Community, and the 21st Century. Land will focus on Odrick’s acquisition of 30 acres of land which was crucial in establishing his wealth and ability to be able to support a community’s development. Education will focus on the school that Odrick built which allowed education for Black children in the area. Access to education for Blacks after the Civil War was extremely limited and discouraged. Third, Church, other than a place of worship, created a culture and housed many social events and gatherings for Black communities. Through my research, Odrick’s School was additionally a place of worship to the community as well. Community will center around the influx of Black families that moved to McLean after Odrick established his family there. There were substantial numbers of Black landowners and a continuously growing community, church, and school. Lastly, the documentary will look at Odrick’s community almost 150 years later under the pressure of the development of Tysons Corner and urban renewal.
For the internship, I am researching Zion Baptist Church located on Lee Street in Alexandria and finding its history going all the way back to the Civil War. This is part of an ongoing mission of Arlington County to compile all of its African American related history together for the public to have access to. So far, Dr. Krystyn Moon and I have compiled an extensive list of all the events of the church through newspapers such as the Evening Star and the Alexandria Gazette. We have also used ancestry.com to log the genealogy of the first trustees, brothers, sisters, and patrons. In a few weeks, we will turn this research into writing to then hopefully post on the website and give to the Church so they can know their history a little better!
I am so excited to go on this journey with you all and please ask me any questions if you have any. See you all next week!