On Saturday, February 11, 2017 the Falls Church Episcopal Church, one of the oldest in the nation, where George Washington and George Mason were Vestryman, will install a stone marker to honor the African American enslaved persons who helped to construct the brick church building in 1769.
The plaque reads: “With gratitude and repentance, we honor the enslaved people whose skill and labor helped build The Falls Church.” It will be placed in the sidewalk leading to the front of the historic church.
The church, from whom the city takes its name, serves as an enduring testament and example of the contributions of African Americans to the American narrative – the backbone in building America and its institutions. “Many of our historic institutions benefitted from enslaved labor but it is not a given that labor and craftsmanship are properly acknowledged. It is only by telling our stories that we learn from them. This plaque is the culmination of dialogue and hard work by a group of people committed to ensuring that we learn from our history as we move forward to become a more inclusive society,” said Nikki Graves Henderson of the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation.
This acknowledgement is the result of a partnership between the Falls Church Episcopal, the Enslaved Workers Acknowledgement Committee, and the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation.
The plaque dedication, which is free and open to the public, will be the highlight of the annual Tinner Hill African American Heritage tour with costumed interpreters portraying people who lived in the Village of Falls Church before, during and right after the Civil War.
The bus will depart Tinner Hill at noon, arriving at the Church at 12:30. Following the dedication, those on the Heritage Tour will re-board the bus and continue until the tour ends by 2:30 pm.