Why The Past Is Important for the Present
This project alone does not even scratch the surface of the depths of Loudoun’s rich history. So many Black businesses are beginning to populate in Loudoun and surrounding counties of Northern Virginia. Although, Virginia may still have some remnants of systematic racism that discourages Black business owners from setting up shop in one area over the other or maybe not even at all, Black business owners in North Virginia should fall back on the foundation that their predecessors built and resist falling into the false narrative created about African Americans by those who deem themselves above us.
African Americans during the Antebellum and Jim Crow era used those time period to their advantage by taking matters into their own hands and providing themselves with resources and opportunities that would eventually lead them to success or even lead their descendents down a path of righteousness by advocating for the needs of themselves as well as their communities. Although many of the key movers of Loudoun may have not been able to see the generational impact of their hard work and dedication, opening more Black businesses in Loudoun county and other counties of Northern Virginia disrupts the narrative of Black struggle.
While African Americans faced many struggles like discrimination, objectification, being “Othered”, being seen as ungeographic because of their Blackness, and the erasing of Blackness, African Americans have plenty of achievements and have planted the roots of Black agnecy, Black autonomy, and Black progress for future generations to uphold. Black history continues to be erased by modern gentrification that disrupt Black culture such as building new construction projects on sacred grounds, residental neighborhoods becoming too expensive to continue residency, or there's more whites moving into Black spaces and making it their "own", which eventually displaces Black people.
It is crucial that in the midst of the uprooting of Black lives, we hold on to what is left of those places or we share the stories of those spaces we once use to occupy to keep our history. That is the only way that Black history survives. If the projects that have been created during the Black Lives Next Door course at George Mason Univeristy was able to uncover or piece together some of the missing gaps of history in Northern Virginia, imagine what else can be discovered. Think about how the projects could also uncover other historical events that expand beyond the region of Northern Virginia.