Week 1: Introduction and Progress

Mar 12, 2021

Hello everyone!

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.

A plaque commemorating the achievements of Alfred Odrick erected in 2002.


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!





5 Replies to “Week 1: Introduction and Progress”

  1. Mimi Y. says:

    Hi Annie, I am so excited to see the final documentary! Keep us posted!

  2. Karan M. says:

    Very unique and interesting topic! I’m looking forward to seeing where your your research brings you.

  3. Jacob J. says:

    Super cool that your using services like ancestory.com in your project!

  4. EPittman says:

    What a wonderful project! I really love the idea that your work will be “putting the lost pieces of history together.” The puzzle or tapestry of American history is so complicated, intricate, astounding, and often painful. Recent historical work, to which your project contributes, has attempted to provide a “voice” to those whose voices were suppressed by the historical record or left out of it completely. Churches are essential repositories of Black American history and culture.

    I am so excited to observe your documentary on Alfred Odrick as it progresses. I’m staying tuned to this space . . .

  5. E Vander Wall says:

    Annie, your project sounds so interesting! I’ll be interested in hearing about ways that your internship and your individual project inform each other. I also love that you’re planning a documentary. What an interesting way to dispay your findings. I can’t wait to see more!!

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