Project Title: The Development of African American Communities, such as Odrick’s Corner, during the Reconstruction
BASIS Advisor: Erin Vander Wall and Elizabeth Pittman
Internship Location: Shiloh Baptist Church
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Robert Cheeks
The outcry about the treatment of people of color, and specifically about African Americans, has been all over the media. However, deeper in that issue is the systemic and decades-long treatment of African Americans that prevented their communities from flourishing such as the Black Wall Street in Greenwood and Rosewood. I will research a specific African American community in my area called Odrick’s Corner, developed by the freed slave, Alfred Odrick. By looking into the core aspects of their community such as the local school, church, and neighborhoods, I will be able to find why these aspects failed and eventually why the community disappeared. For my internship, I will be a city intern in Arlington County’s African American Waterfront Trail Project researching the beginnings and founding members, who were also freed slaves, of Zion Baptist Church. By researching under an established organization of researchers, archaeologists, and scholars, I am able to gain a better sense of how to approach an area with such a lack of information and attention. I will mainly talk to the descendants of the founding families of Odrick’s Corner and go through historic records, deeds, and wills. I hope to contribute to the growing base of information that documents the lost and often covered history of freed slaves after the Civil War finding a way to successfully navigate their freedom. For too long, achievements and the celebration of African Americans have been ignored and I believe that even with small projects such as mine, more change can occur.