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Celebrate Black History Month with Prince William County

2023 Black History Month

Written By: Prince William County

Prince William County has a unique and extensive African American history that is preserved and interpreted through its surviving buildings. Throughout the county’s history, many enslaved African Americans worked at plantations throughout the county including Rippon Lodge and Ben Lomond. At Lucasville and the Barnes House, free African Americans after the Civil War built homes and communities to establish a life for themselves as free citizens, where they began to challenge racism and segregation. You can learn about these stories and more all year round by visiting one of our historic sites or attending a special program. Check out the programs below during February, Black History Month. 

Lucasville School Open House – February 10 & 11
Reconstruction in the wake of the Civil War brought with it new opportunities for African Americans in Prince William County. Four years before they had been barred from learning to read and write by Virginia state law, but that did not stop them from learning on their own or others teaching them despite the severe punishments possible. Now schools would open for the instruction of all who wished to attend. These early schools faced many obstacles, from irregular funding, teacher shortages, political threats and even open violence. Join us as we commemorate African American History Month at Lucasville School and visit the reconstructed 19th century school for a discussion about how people met these challenges and overcame them to help build a better future. Free event. No registration required. Join us on Saturday, February 10 or Sunday, February 11, 11 am – 3 pm.

Prince William Historic Preservation Lecture Series: The Preserve – Freedom’s Words Ringing Hollow by Larry Howard – February 22
Historian Larry Howard examines the perspectives of enslaved or formerly enslaved Virginians to determine their perspectives on the political ideas of America’s Founding Fathers. Lecture is free and will take place at Old Manassas Courthouse on Thursday, February 22, 7 pm – 8:30 pm. No registration required.

Prince William County African American History and Culture Bus Tour – February 24
Join local historians on a daylong tour exploring the unique and powerful stories behind the African American history of Prince William County. We will travel the county, stepping back in time to the 1800s all the way through the 1960s. Stopping at many special, sometimes forgotten sites to learn about the lifestyle, challenges and the power of education in the African American community. Sites will include Prince William Forest Park, Smoketown, Brentsville Courthouse and much more! Advanced registration is required and includes lunch. Purchase tickets here.