Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some history of my new neighborhood

We're slowly moving things into the new house, and while we were there with boxes last night we met one of our new neighbors from across the street. She was a very nice woman, and she also told me something about the history of the neighborhood. Some of the families had been there for awhile and our neighbor to the left was actually related in some way to the old residents of Tinner Hill in Falls Church.

I checked that out when I got home, and it's an interesting bit of history. Tinner Hill used to be a pink granite quarry. It got its name when Joseph Tinner bought the property in the late 19th century, but before then it was mined by slaves at the Dulaney Plantation. Tinner was deeply involved in early efforts for civil rights. In 1915 he and E.B. Henderson spear-headed a lawsuit to fight residential segregation in Falls Church (which they won). They also applied to the NAACP to open a Falls Church branch, which was the first rural NAACP branch in the country (the area isn't quite so rural anymore). The first meeting of the Falls Church NAACP was in Tinner's house.

E.B. Henderson is famous for fighting for the integration of sports in the D.C. area. He attended Howard University (in DC) and then Harvard, and was the first African American male to teach physical education, apparently. Henderson was also an avid writer of letters to the editor and had 3,000 published in the Washington Post (the Post claims he is the most published letter writer in their history).

Some residents of Falls Church have set up the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation to raise awareness about the work of Tinner and Henderson. Once we move in I plan on checking this out. They also have an annual blues festival which will happen right when we're settling in - so I'm looking forward to that.


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