Video Credit: Robert Burnett of GVI Productions in Washington, DC.
Welcome to 100 Years of Black Falls Church, an online collaborative project produced by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and the George Mason University African and African American Studies program. This joint undertaking is funded in part by a Scholarship-in-Partnership Grant from the National Trust for Historical Preservation.
Since it gained township status in 1875, the town of Falls Church has maintained a deeply rooted African American history. 100 Years of Black Falls Church provides access to primary source materials relating to the African American community of Falls Church, Virginia and is complimented by a sidewalk virtual tour of African American homes, churches and landmarks. The site introduces users to people and places within Falls Church, and shares the hidden history of a remarkable, vibrant and thriving African American community that maintained families, purchased land, built homes, and established churches, while living, working, socializing and worshipping under bondage, segregation, and Jim Crow. We chronicle 100 years of Black Falls Church from the Civil War through the Civil Rights era.
The descendants of African Americans who thrived in Falls Church, still live, work and worship in the vicinity. Their ancestors were part of the social and economic fabric of the community and their history has been hidden through gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, marginalization, and most recently by urban growth and development. This website gives voice to a brave and triumphant community throughout a period when society was separate and unequal.
100 Years of Black Falls Church allows users to visit the Northern Virginia town via a geo-location map imbedded into our website using Google Earth’s Street View™. Teachers, parents, and homeschoolers are encouraged to take a 360-degree street level tour of African American churches, homes, and landmarks in Falls Church without leaving the classroom. Visitors can begin their tour at the Tinner Hill Monument, then head over to Charles Tinner’s home, take a stroll past the Galloway Methodist Episcopal Church, and end the adventure in front of the old Odd Fellows building. Other selected locations appear on a navigable map and users can also browse the site by interviewee, theme, or document. We trust the site will allow students, life-long learners, and those interested in Falls Church history to learn about the essential role African Americans have played in Falls Church’s rich and dynamic history.
All images and texts featured on the site are provided for educational and research purposes only. Permission to reproduce these images for other purposes or to republish them in any form must be granted in writing to the Tinner Hill Foundation.
The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation has gathered and shared a number of primary resources (photographs, letters, documents, audio and video tapes, and oral histories) from their archives, historic church archives and the descendants of a proud community families that still thrive in Falls Church today. The project has also been made possible, in part, by selected materials generously provided by Readex America’s Historical Newspapers collection, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998.