Week 4/5: Some New Discoveries

Apr 18, 2021

Hello Everybody!

Sorry for not posting last week. Because of that, this week’s post will be a long one.

First, it is related to my internship ! A draft has been written of the Zion Church’s history and it is to be sent to the County. However, we are waiting for access to Gladwin’s (a White Reverend trustee for the Church) report written in one of the Church’s journals until the draft can be finalized.

One similarity I found between the Zion Baptist Church’s community and the Odrick’s Corner community is that Zion Bottom (the area named for the prominence of the church in a low-lying area) faced a crisis where the residents were forced to move on the land of the Great Southern Railroad Company. They were forced to move their homes piece-by-piece and rebuilt their community north of the land. Others moved elsewhere.

In Odrick’s Corner’s case, around the 1980’s, the construction of the I-66 exit or Dulles Airport Access Road was proposed to the Federal Aviation Adminstration. However, this exit (as originally proposed) would have gone directly through Odrick’s land, and consequently, the residents’ homes, who were descendants of the Black families who once lived in Odrick’s Corner. Through persistent resistance from the black community, and with the help of the Hamlet (local neighborhood)’s association, the proposal was rewritten so that the construction would not go through the neighborhood. As a result of the construction however, many of the families relocated outside of the McLean area. With just a few families left, future construction of the Senior Citizen homes I mentioned on the blog two weeks ago pushed them out as well.

For my Odrick’s Corner project, I’ve made a lot of progress in the past two weeks, but I’ve also found some interesting discoveries that really set in the feeling that this project will be an important one. Not only to me, but for my community and the Odrick’s Corner community.

The first discovery was made as I was searching on ancestry.com for any of Alfred Odrick’s descendants with his specific last name. I found a descendant named Charles D. Odrick who lived from 1870 to 1920. Although it is not specified that he is a direct descendant of Alfred Odrick. The timelines match pretty well with the hypothesis that Charles D. Odrick could be the son of any one of Alfred Odrick’s sons. However, the more interesting discovery was that this cemetery was in the backyard of a house, specifically a house in the Hamlet. Completely exposed with no physical fence or guarding around it. I will insert the picture below.

As you can see in the pictures, the house is right next to the cemetery with the only division between the two properties being the house’s fencing. The same is exhibited in the pictures I showed a few weeks ago of the remains of Odrick’s home. The remains are adjacent to one of the homes in the neighborhood with no fencing around it. It was also extremely close to the road. Although commemoration and acknowledgement is being made for these historic sites. It feels as though those in charge are only doing the minimum and something must change. Hopefully, my project will enact that change.

Thank you for listening to my extremely long post but I will see you all next week!



3 Replies to “Week 4/5: Some New Discoveries”

  1. EPittman says:

    Excellent sleuthing work, Annie! You’ve made so much progress both in your internship and toward your project.

    There are many publications that might help you think through the relationship between space and race. One is _The Color of Law_ by Richard Rothstein. Rothstein’s book uncovers the policies enacted by the U.S. federal government through infrastructure plans, etc, to implement segregationist principles. I believe Rothstein’s focus is housing policy, so his book would be even more useful for the independent research component of your project. Also, if you have not yet read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s investigative piece, “The Case for Reparations” for _The Atlantic Monthly_, you should.

    1. Annie W. says:

      Hi Dr. Pittman!

      I started The Color of Law and it is so interesting! and definitely applicable to the community. I have not read Coates’s piece yet, although I do remember you recommending his work earlier so I will get on it!

  2. Jacob J. says:

    Great job Annie. I’m sure the Odrick’s Corner Community we’ll be very grateful for your work.

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